Okay, this is a big problem for me. Procrastination haunted me all through school, through college, and into my home life. I just couldn’t put one foot in front of the other to get things done until I absolutely had to because I had wasted so much time. Then I was plagued by stress. There really is no benefit to putting off your responsibilities, so why do so many of us suffer with this problem?
The solution is nothing new and these are definitely not solutions you haven’t heard before. The key is to just DO IT. These are the simple solutions that work for me.
How Do You Eat an Elephant?
Something I repeat to myself constantly is “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Weird expression for a vegetarian, but it seriously helps me to accomplish the big tasks in my life that need to get done. I envision all of my biggest chores as smaller pieces and then do them one at a time.
Eat That Frog
This is another weird expression, but it does wonders for my motivation and to-do list.
The point of this one is to do the chore you dread the most first. For me, this is almost always a phone call. Maybe it’s the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere with horrible cell reception or the fact that I have a toddler who likes to be the center of attention and screams anytime I try to make a phone call.
My point is, I dread making important phone calls. Even just to make an appointment.
Because I dread this so much, I’ll add it to my to-do list at the very top. This is the first thing I’ll do in the morning. Why? Because once that one dreaded task is out of the way, I have way more motivation for the rest of the morning and the rest of my tasks don’t seem so bad.
This really does wonders. If you can push yourself through one task that you dread the most, the rest of them seem so much less daunting.
Set a Timer
I talk about this a lot but that’s because it REALLY works for me. I think to myself all the time “you can do anything for 15 minutes.”
If I set a timer and tell myself I’m going to do nothing but dishes for 15 minutes, I am always amazed at just how many dishes I can do in 15 minutes.
I give myself 10 minutes to put laundry away, pick up the play room… you name it. If it’s on my to-do list, I’m probably going to set a timer for some length of time and try to bust out that chore as fast as I can. Don’t put it off, just set a timer for whatever length of time you think you can stand, and then work at it as fast as you possibly can.
Chances are, once that timer goes off, you’ll be motivated to keep going because you’ll realize how little you probably have left to do. Plus, once you start on a task, it’s way easier to keep going and actually complete it.
This brings me to my next tip…
Do One Small Thing
For me, this is opening my laptop and logging into my blog. I love writing posts for you guys, but sometimes wine in front of the TV sounds way more appealing. 🙂
Every day, I tell myself I just have to open my laptop and log into my blog. If that’s all I get done, that’s fine…but that’s literally never been the case. When I log in, I usually see that I have comments from some of you (my favorite part of blogging!) and I can’t wait to read what you have to say.
Then I can’t help but respond.
Then I’ll get an idea for a blog post and I’ll open Microsoft Word and start typing. If the kids (and husband) are asleep, just logging into my blog could turn into 2 hours of writing and making graphics.
For you, this might be just putting on your tennis shoes when you don’t feel like working out. If you don’t want to hop on the treadmill, that’s fine. Don’t do it, but just lace up your tennis shoes before you decide not to.
Don’t want to clean? Just get out the broom. If you want to just put it back, that’s fine. Now that you have it out though, wouldn’t it be so much easier to just sweep the floor?
I read about this tip years ago in my internet travels and it seriously changed the way I approach my days. This one tip is all I needed to start doing to get a handle on my extreme procrastination.
Now, I realize just how little time things actually take, how easy it is to accomplish a task once you take the first small step, and the beauty of getting my least favorite tasks done first.
Do you have a problem with procrastination? What do you do to accomplish things when you least feel like it? Let me know in the comments!
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