2. Weigh the consequences. What’s the worst thing that can happen if you procrastinate and fail to complete this task? Conversely, what is the best possible result of getting it done on time? Now, do the right thing and jump right in.
3. Begin immediately. Get started now. Take charge of the situation at once and initiate the action steps you need to take. Even the most daunting task can be a lot easier once we roll up our sleeves and get busy. Start to develop a reputation for getting things done. Putting important tasks off makes you appear to be less committed to accomplishment.
4. Make a public declaration to reinforce your commitment. Find someone who you’d be embarrassed to let down by not following through on your declaration. Share your objective and the timeline for achieving it with this individual. Then, get on it right away. Making your commitment public forces you to be accountable. You’ll be less likely to goof off and more inclined to bear down and do whatever is necessary.
5. Act on anything that will help you get closer to the successful completion of the task before you. Open that file, dial the first number on your list, write the first line of your letter—anything that can help you get rolling so you can build a little momentum.
6. Think before you act. If you’re having difficulty getting started, take 5 minutes to think about it first. Probe your mind for the reasons behind the procrastination. Force your self to analyze why you’re delaying this project. Then face up to it. Confront your fears by taking some kind of positive action.
7. Do the thing you keep putting off, first. Complete this troublesome task early in the day. Once completed, you’ll feel energized and the rest of the day will be a breeze.
8. Listen to the excuses you’re using for putting certain jobs off, in favor of others. Always go back to the one task that’s most important at this moment and work on that. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of working very diligently on something else as a means to avoid doing what you really should be doing. Catch yourself and re-adjust your course of action.
9. Play games with yourself. Turn boring, mundane work into a fun game. Challenge yourself to break your speed record or to find a more efficient, more productive way to perform this task. You’ll improve productivity, have a little fun, complete the “boring” work and you may even discover a revolutionary process that can change traditional thinking.
10. Recognize your delay tactics for what they are and then take some action. Have many times have you thought about doing something only to talk yourself out of it because it was too difficult, too inconvenient or too unappealing? Listen to your internal voice but be prepared to overrule if it’s preventing you from doing the important things. Rarely is a task as oppressive as it seems. Usually, “the stewing is worse than the doing”.
11. Change your attitude about it and any task can become more bearable. Catch yourself moaning about the job you have to do and then, make a radical shift. You can often spend more time griping about having to do the job than it actually takes to just do it!
12. Find out why you’re putting it off. Here’s the main reasons why people procrastinate: A) other things seem more important… B) the task is so unpleasant that virtually anything else would be preferred… and C) a lack of confidence in one’s own ability to accomplish the task.
13. Re-frame the unpleasant tasks to make them more acceptable to do. Nothing by itself is either good or bad. It’s the thinking about it that makes it so. Nothing is either painful or pleasurable until we decide which it is. How you choose to look at a task can make a big difference. See it in a positive light and you’ll get it done faster and emerge unscathed. Once you’ve mastered this skill, you’ve conquered the demon of procrastination.
14. Turn it into a pleasurable activity and it will be much easier to handle. We never procrastinate on the things that make us feel good. Make it fun. Make it a challenge or a competition. Turn it into an exciting adventure. It’s often the perceived pain that’s the root cause of procrastination. Build up enough pleasure and the pain subsides enough so you forget about it and get the job done.
15. Visualize the task successfully completed in your minds’ eye. Internalize the
feelings of success and accomplishment. Amplify it. Reinforce the joy. Lock these sensory experiences into your memory bank and relive them often. Do it enough and the mental image will in turn create the physical reality.
16. Create two lists on a single sheet of paper. First, divide the page lengthwise
into two equal columns. On the left, list all the reasons for not doing a particular task. On the right, list all the reasons for getting it done. Now, you have to play a little game with yourself. You want to stack the reasons so overwhelmingly in favor of action, that failing to take action looks like such an inferior choice, that only a fool would opt for this choice.
17. Attack the problem as though you were a master at getting things done. Think of someone you know whose accomplishments consistently impress you. Now, pretend you are this person. How would they face this situation? What actions would they take? What would they do to just get it done? Next, prepare an outline of how this unique achiever would actually complete the project if it were their own. Then, follow the plan.