This is something I’ve struggled with. Putting things off, that I know should be done immediately.
I use distraction as my tool for procrastination.
Why we put things off, when it’s clearly in our self-interest to just do them now, is not about laziness but about fear.
A fear that we won’t do it well enough. A fear that we’ll screw everything up.
Now, I think the fear is subtle and sub-conscious, but it’s just enough to nudge us onto Twitter or Vimeo for a few hours, blowing off what we should be doing.
It’s easier to blow off something that is hard (and if you’re in creative services you know creating great work is hard as hell) than dive in and risk not doing it well.
If you’ve struggled with this, here are some ways I’ve tried to address it.
3 ways to overcome this
For me getting past this issue and being more productive is about 3 things : My mindset, My Schedule & My Health.
1. Make a proclamation that you will do your best.
One of the best ways I’ve overcome this problem is simply to get my head right.
Snapping out of my distraction mode can be as simple as reminding myself that i’m not being logical, and i’m only letting the work pile up.
My thought process in my head looks something like this:
I need to get this done. Even though I may feel like blowing it off. I said I was going to do it; and I will follow through on this commitment.
I’ll give it my best and focus on the process. I’ll work deliberately to do it at a high quality and have fun with it. If I don’t know how to do something, I won’t panic inside, I’ll do my best to figure it out. I’ll learn as I go and do my best.
I’ll work on this for 60 minutes and then I’ll take a break. I’m going to tune out email, twitter and all other distractions so I can focus on this task.
It’s ok if it’s not perfect, it’s a process.”
2. Make to do lists with your 5 top priorities for that day.
The shorter your to do list, the more impactful you’re likely to be.
Don’t try and do everything, strive to do a few things really well.
To do lists come with the added satisfaction of checking something off a list and allows your productivity to snowball.
3. Get some exercise during lunch, it’ll re-boot your brain.
Play a sport, go for a swim, exercise, basically get your heart rate up and sweat a little.
Exercise re-boots your brain and clears the cob-webs.
After a great mid-day workout, it sets you up for a really productive afternoon session.
Procrastination is less about laziness and more about anxiety and fear.
If you’re like me and you’re easily distracted by shiny pointless distractions, then I hope these tips can equip you to overcome it.