Are you a perpetual procrastinator, looking for ways to tackle the issue and get stuff done?
My procrastinating tendency used to cause me misery because I always ended up rushing at the last minute.
Staying in the office till late to catch up and meet a deadline. Sometimes, pulled all-nighters, inevitably feeling out of sorts for days.
It was miserable.
I might have had deeper issues that caused procrastination. But looking back on those days, the primary reasons for procrastinating was my laziness and no sense of direction with my life.
Since starting my own business, I knew I couldn’t continue with the same mentality and attitude.
Most of all, I didn’t want to.
It was time to say:
Enough is enough.
Since then, I’ve tried and tested a few time management hacks.
Here are 4 ways that help me stop procrastinating that works for me every day.
4 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Stop Procrastinating
1. Start Off My Day Right
When I used to live aimlessly, every day looked the same.
It sure felt the same too.
It’s only when I stopped tolerating my aimless life that things changed.
I became more intentional with everything I do.
I’ve learned that all this time, the only thing that had stood between me and the life I wanted to create was me.
The biggest culprit was the inferiority complex that I’ve carried with me all my life.
The first action I took to change my mindset and attitude was starting my day with gratitude.
Each morning, instead of thinking about the reasons I’m not living the life I want, I thank for another day, another opportunity.
I remind myself that my ordinary day can be someone else’s lifetime opportunity in other parts of the world.
Gratitude spurs me to get on with my day in a positive light and keeps me from procrastinating.
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2. Apply the 3-Minute Rule
In an interview, Seth Godin was asked what one advice he would give to a wannabe entrepreneur.
There’s no earth-shattering brand new wisdom there. Yet, it’s such a profound answer that stopped me in my tracks.
It took me back to the days, weeks, months and years when I said to myself I’d start something but never did.
Now, when I don’t feel like doing something, I coax myself into doing it for 3 minutes:
Let’s do it for 3 minutes. Just 3 minutes.
Often, I stay in the zone until I finish whatever I’ve started.
With the 3-Minute Rule, I finish my daily blogging challenge.
Finish reading a few chapters of a self-help book, learn to play a new piano piece, clean the entire house, do 100 squats or 100 push-ups and so on.
Starting is the hardest part.
The 3-Minute Rule lets me past that hurdle and keeps me from procrastinating.
3. Commit to Being a Doer TODAY
When I learned about the traits of successful people, I’ve committed to being a doer, not a talker or a dreamer.
The other night, I read an inspiring answer to a question on Quora: “what are some characteristics of successful people?”
Asim Qureshi, former Vice President at Morgan Stanley, recounted what the team’s head during his internship at Barclays Capital said to him – the boss was giving him a lift on his way back home:
Look, Asim, a lot of people say they will learn French, or lose weight, or they will read some book. The difference between most other people and me is that I don’t do them tomorrow, I actually do them. Today.”
He explained, “I’m tired right now, but I don’t care. I’m going to drop you off, get home, and I will read at least a couple of chapters of [some finance book I can’t recall]. I don’t care how f***ing tired I am. I am going to get through a couple of chapters. Because I don’t do things tomorrow. I do them today.
Successful people feel knackered the same way the rest of us do. But they still do what has to be done.
I commit to doing TODAY. No excuses.
4. Stop Berating Myself
Each day, I have 2 or 3 most important tasks to get done.
Looking back on the past 30 days, I went astray a few times. I had to contend with one task instead.
It wasn’t ideal, but self-blaming doesn’t make me feel better. It does the opposite.
So I avoid berating myself with, “could’ve, would’ve or should’ve.”
Instead, I ask myself: “I wonder….”
I wonder what would have happened had I completed all three tasks.
I wonder how I’d have felt had I eaten more vegetables for dinner.
I wonder what I’d have done with what I learned had I read two more chapters.
Just reframing my thought process with, “I wonder…”, allows me to evaluate my day logically with no self-defeating emotion.
It removes negative self-talk that keeps me from being proactive positively.
There is always room for improvement.
But with all the above, I’m happy with how I spend each day without procrastinating and get things that need to be done, done.
Usually, you just know it before falling asleep, don’t you?
That feeling of content from a day well spent…
It’s a wonderful feeling for every one of us to aim for everyday. And here’s one sure-fire way of making that happen.
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