I could go on and on about how much we all procrastinate: we put things off, we start the day by adding more things to yesterdays unfinished to-do list and so on. You are also aware of what happens when you procrastinate so I can’t offer you much there. What I can offer you are the principles I use to prevent procrastination and get sh*t done.
1) Eat that frog!
Do the hard stuff first and the rest is a breeze. Do the easy stuff first and you’ll end up taking your time to avoid the hard stuff… time wasted. When I’m working out one side at a time I always do my weaker side first. When I am cleaning the house I do my least favorite chore first. When I have a to-do list a mile long I tackle the most dreaded task (you guessed it) first. This isn’t a character trait of mine but a learned behavior. The concept came from Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating. The analogy comes from Mark Twain saying “if it’s your job to eat a frog it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, and if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s the best to eat the biggest one first.” So next time you have a hard workout, a laborious task or something you are simply dreading just get it over with after that nothing can stop you!
2) The 3 D’s.
Do it, Delegate it or Delete it. When faced with a task I apply the 3 D’s principle: do it myself (now, get it over with), delegate it to someone else or delete it. How do I delete it you ask? I say no. If you have trouble getting everything you need to do done chances are you are probably over committing. Start deleting.
3) ….uh, stop over committing.
This needed to be said twice. You do not need to attend everything you are invited to. If you are afraid to say no because you may not be invited again chances are it wasn’t worth going. Saying yes every time someone else needs something does not make you nice… it makes you a pushover. It is okay to cancel, no not last minute and especially not with a poor made-up excuse. The other day I was having a great time with my husband golfing and as much as I hated missing one of my favorite little ones in a school play I wasn’t ready to end the day, and she was going to steal the show with or without me.
4) Get started.
The most difficult part of most things is simply getting started. I always tell people who have a hard time getting to the gym after work to change into their gym clothes before leaving the office, chances are you’ve already got started towards the gym. Same goes for the morning. When you want to skip the morning gym session wait until you’ve gotten up and brushed your teeth, see if you still want to skip.
5) Prioritize… AKA give a shit.
If you do not care about having or wearing clean clothes, chances are you aren’t going to jump up and do the laundry. You’ve got to put some pride into the work you are doing (big or small), once you start caring about it it will be a priority. If you still don’t care about it then you need to reevaluate why it is on your to-do list (DELETE IT).
Eat that frog! Get shit done!
Sweat & Smiles, Melissa