New Zealand, we have a PROBLEM! A culture of not following up and/or not completing tasks.
- Take time to plan – at the end of each day, plan for the next. Write a to-do list that not only includes the things that need to be done (deadline-oriented items) but also long-term projects that propel your strategic plan.
- Set priorities – make sure you prioritise your list. Do the most important things first. Check periodically that your daily to-do list and activities are in keeping with your personal mission statement. Don’t climb the ladder to the top and realize that it is leaning against the wrong building and not fulfilling what is meaningful to you.
- Do the most difficult task first – if it is a priority, tackle the most difficult thing at the beginning of the day or when your energy is the highest. If you put off the difficult tasks until the end of the day or the end of the week, they will “grow” in size and seem even more challenging.
- Reward yourself – pat yourself on the back when you finish a task, especially a task that you saw as difficult or challenging. Choose a personal reward like a massage, a long walk, or a bubble bath.
- Understand that you’re worth it – determine that you are worth having a procrastination-free life. You no longer want to be a victim to this behaviour. When you believe this is your soul, you’ll learn to say “no”; you’ll take care of what is important to your personal/professional wellness; you’ll stop aggravating yourself with procrastination.
- Become extremely selfish – ask for what you need in order to create reserve or space in your life. This gives you the time to eliminate those things about which you are procrastinating. Remember the visual of the oxygen mask extending down in an airplane. Put it on yourself first, then minister to others.
- Choose accountability – hire a coach, create a success team, or find an “accountability partner.” Being accountable to another person who really cares about your success and won’t be critical if you fail is a giant step towards eliminating procrastination.
- Use the one touch system – whenever possible take care of the task before it gets on a possible procrastination list. For instance, pay your bills when they come in the mail; open your mail, sort it, file it, act on it or throw it away immediately. Do this standing up!
- Lighten up – procrastinating is often just the little person inside you saying “I won’t do it” because they haven’t been taken care of. They’re mad that you never take them out to play so they’re trying to create space for themselves by keeping you from doing “just one more thing.” Sometimes this works. However, wouldn’t it be better for the “adult” in you to choose when to “go out for recess” thus allowing the child within to leave “the working person” alone?
- Get some rest – sometimes we procrastinate because we’re just too tired to do another thing. Go to bed really early at least once a week. Get eight hours of sleep whenever you can. Go back to #6, maintain boundaries around your day so you can take breaks and end your work at a reasonable time. Take time for yourself!
Start this week to follow up. You will wonder at the at difference it makes, why you have never done it before and just how easy it is.