Monday, March 7, 2011

STOP Procrastinating⎯How to Start Small in 7 Liberating Steps

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
 Thomas Jefferson

You do it, I do it and I would venture to guess even Thomas Jefferson did it⎯we all delay, put off, postpone, stall and defer⎯we are the great procrastinators. The more we think we have to do, the more we procrastinate. You may even manage to finally get to those “things” you have put off only to find more “things” waiting in the wings, so you can’t even feel good about those “things” you finally check off your list.

I was recently talking with Kay, who I know considers herself to be a first-class procrastinator. She is not proud of the fact but uses it quite often as an excuse to procrastinate even more. We were discussing her procrastinating ways and how she might go about changing her modus operandi. We decided she needed to start small. Here is what we came up with:

1. Prioritize⎯List all the things you have been procrastinating about.
2. Pick one thing close to the top of the list which might take less time than some of the other things on your list. When you start small you have more of a chance to succeed which allows the momentum of succeeding to carry you on to the next thing.
3. Make an appointment⎯set aside 15 minutes (keep in mind you are starting small here) to unload, organize or whatever it is you need or want to do and just do it! FYI, you might just get carried away and take more time…
4. Make another appointment⎯if you didn’t finish the "thing" with the first appointment, make another one, then another one until you are done.
5. Place a big check mark on your prioritized list. Now doesn’t that just feel good?
6. Celebrate the moment⎯bask in the glow one feels when finally getting to something they have been meaning to do⎯high-five yourself or do a yippy-skippy dance (my personal favorite)!
7. Return to your list⎯do you need to re-prioritize anything? Select another thing to focus on, make an appointment and keep on making appointments. It’s amazing how many things you can actually get done by just setting time aside here and there.

Kay knows she has a long way to go but has decided to take charge and set time aside. She knows starting small is probably the only way she will ever get her things done and change her procrastinating behavior. She knows it is up to her to make an appointment with herself. She wants to stop letting herself down and just do it!

Make it a point to schedule time for your prioritized things. After all, it is really a form of scheduling time for YOU. Knowing you have “things you need to do” can be stressful and only adds more stress. So start small and let the momentum carry you forward.

What are you going to do in order to start small and stop procrastinating?

© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark