Benjamin Franklin said “You may delay, but time will not.” Charles Dickens said “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” and Abraham Lincoln said “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
If these notable procrastination quotes aren’t enough to make you want to leap up and tackle your next business task – ActionCOACH has these 3 proven tips to show you how to beat procrastination.
Tip 1. The 1 Minute Battle
Let’s start by trying to achieve the opposite of procrastination. That is; achieving a ‘state of flow’ or getting ‘in the zone’. You may have experienced such moments where you are totally focussed on the task and achieve optimal mental or physical performance. You may have even surprised yourself with the amount you achieved in this space of time. So how do we do this every time we sit down to a task??
The challenge with getting in the zone is that it takes between 7-10mins for the brain to open up the neural pathways to align themselves for you to go into flow. If you can sit down and try to get through the first minute (we call this the One Minute Battle) then chances are you will stay for 7 minutes and get into the flow. So all you need to think about is “what am I going to do for the next minute?” The 1 Minute Battle can be applied to high value business activities.
Tip 2. Eat the Frog
Sounds delicious!??? Time Management expert Brian Tracy coined this phrase in his book, and he means if you were told you had to eat a live frog by tomorrow or you would die, when would you eat it? Either you would eat it immediately to get it over with, or stress about it until tomorrow and then have to eat it anyway. The same can be applied to all our challenging business tasks. At the end of each day, write down your “frog” that needs to be done the next day – i.e. the big, important, valuable thing you know you should get completed. The following morning, simply do it first and get it over and done with. You’ll be motivated and satisfied that you’ve made meaningful progress and the day has just begun….so you’re then likely to get a whole lot more done in the rest of the day.
Tip 3. Remind yourself WHY
Interestingly it’s often the big and important tasks that are procrastinated over, while the quick and easy tasks get actioned immediately. This is crazy when you think about the value to your business if you complete the big tasks before the menial. If you catch yourself procrastinating – stand up, walk to a window and look outside. Stay there for 5 minutes and think about your business goals and dreams. Ask yourself, “Why am I procrastinating? Why would I want to delay doing this task and achieving my goals?” Then go back to your desk and keep working on it!
Finally, let’s quash a few of the 3 most common procrastination excuses out there, so we can leave them behind right now and get on with building our successful businesses!
- “I’ll start after…” If the most important tasks need doing, they cannot wait until ‘after’ anything!
- “It’s not the right time” If not now, when? Let’s face it – the time will never be perfect.
- “I’ve got too much to do” ActionCOACH has written several helpful articles on how to build processes and teams that will enable you to focus on the most important tasks in your business. There shouldn’t be a whole list of unimportant tasks standing in the way of the big stuff. <Click here to see a list of helpful articles>
ActionCOACH has worked with thousands of growing businesses to deliver strategies on how to avoid procrastination, and we understand that it takes a lots of time and tasks to achieve your ultimate business goals. Rest assured you will have some great, productive, effective and wonderful times, but you’ll also have some times where it feels as though you’re not in the zone at all. One great day won’t get you there, but one bad day won’t stop you getting there either. Stick at it, avoid procrastination and you will get there!
For more tips on Time Management, please download a copy of the free eBook here or contact ActionCOACH today for some one-on-one coaching that will motivate you and keep you focussed on the most productive tasks to propel your business toward success 02 9146 4439.