Yes, I am a GTD/productivity ninja trying to figure out the best ways to get things done… I’m running a magazine about it and a tool that helps me achieve my goals… but I’m also a human being and I have my better and not-so-good moments where I just don’t feel like doing anything and I’m… well… yes… procrastinating. And well, I finally found a book that helped my understand why I’m sometimes like this… and how to get back to the grove:
Blaming yourself and kicking yourself in the … (lower back part of a human body) doesn’t help
Many books focus on making yourself do things you don’t like or just delegating them. Yes, that’s great but sometimes you simply CAN’T make yourself do something… and you still need to do it. I’m growing now from a micro-company owner to a small company CEO and there are many things about the job I don’t like. The “growth headaches” are just that… headaches. The Now Habit helped me understand the problems I have with putting off certain tasks and how to make myself finally do them… without feeling guilty about all this.
This is our main problem - the feeling of guilt and shame - it stops us from performing at our best, from making things happen. Once we understand these and combat our insecurities we’ll just make things happen. You are great and amazing. You are not procrastinating because you’re a moron. There is a solution for this glitch. Deal with it :-)
Small rewards pay off in the long run - reward yourself often!
We are just humans… and we like easy rewards - we like the small wins rather than the big victories that will happen in a year or two. We want to be rewarded with a candy now, rather than eat a whole piece of pie tomorrow. That’s why it’s great to put rewarding tasks and breaks between the chores we need to do. Need to write an article you don’t feel like writing? Do it now for 30 minutes and later go watch your favorite episode of “Friends” :-) You’ll want to write the article right away.
30-minute sprints - the Pomodoro Technique I love
The book also covers the Pomodoro Technique I use and recommend - to put a clock to 30 minutes and just do the thing! The ticking clock will help you stay focused and rush you to finally do the thing right away… and you’ll make sure there is a reward for you soon after.
Power of the un-schedule… meaning to schedule the good stuff only!
What the advice of this book comes down to is the “un-schedule” calendar - the concept to only schedule the fun stuff for the entire week. Exactly, you DON’T schedule work, you schedule everything that is not work - gym, walks, running, movies, fun with family, whatever you like to be doing to make sure you get the quality time above everything else. You keep the schedule handy and make sure you stick to it. And you work in between. This way the calendar is no longer frightening. And you’re looking forward to the good stuff. You make sure you’re not “swamped with work” as the leisure time is scheduled ABOVE everything else.
Just for kicks I did an “un-schedule” for this week and it feels amazing - I know which time slots I have for work (in between my good stuff) and I’m getting a lot more done (more focused work) and I finally have time for fitness training and other stuff. It really works.
How do you overcome procrastination? Do you also schedule your fun stuff?