Check out 5 tips on how to stop procrastinating published by Ben Lempert at ClickTime.
1. Don’t Wait for the Right Mood
Often we don’t start doing something because we “don’t feel up to it.” Put more psychologically, we often imagine that our emotional state has to match the thing we’re doing, and if it doesn’t, something’s not right.
The trick is to realize that “feeling like it” doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with actually doing things. After all, if you’re doing things, you’re doing them, regardless of how you “feel” about doing it. So give yourself room to detach your feelings from your actions. Plus, once you start doing something, your feeling about doing it often changes.
2. Just Do a (Super) Small Thing
Ah, that huge, enormous, looming job. It’s so big, you’ll never get it done!
Maybe true, maybe not. But you know what you can get done? Something small. Even something really small. If you’ve got a bunch of paperwork to do, just put dates on the everything. Or do the top page only. Or do something you know you can get done in 15 minutes.
Forward progress always beats no progress. Plus, once you start, you might find that momentum you’re looking for.
3. Give Yourself License to Stop
In line with #2, one great way to get moving on something is to tell yourself you only have to do it for a short amount of time — 20 minutes, say. Then hold yourself to it!
If after 20 minutes you still feel like working on the thing you don’t want to do, by all means keep working on it. But if not, give yourself license to stop. Do 20 minutes then move on to something else. Later in the day, do 20 more minutes. Tomorrow, do 20 more. Use an easy time tracker to get an idea of how your most productive days are divvied up.
The ultimate goal is just to get yourself in the chair, working. But it only works if you allow yourself room to stop.
4. Stop in the Middle
When you’re working on something good, don’t keep going until you’ve finished it. Rather, stop in the middle. The next day, you won’t need to start from scratch — you’ll already be in the middle of things! Plus, it gives your brain cool stuff to work on in the meantime.
You can think of this less as dealing with acute procrastination and more as setting up a system to keep you from procrastinating in the first place.
5. Forgive Yourself for Procrastinating
If you want to stop procrastinating, don’t obsess about it! Forgive yourself, then get back to work.
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