Overcoming procrastination

I’m not a natural at Getting Sh*t Done. If I’m excited about something I have no problem cracking on with it, but I definitely have tasks that I migrate from day to day and week to week in my journal.

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Here are some top tips that have helped me overcome my urge to put off my purchase orders, expenses, invoices and generally shitty but necessary jobs list.

The “should I be doing this” model. In one of my first office jobs I was a researcher for a team of headhunters with big egos and bigger lists of jobs they wanted to delegate to me. My then-boss taught me a great model for prioritising which really stuck with me.

  • Ask yourself – should you be doing this? i.e. is the task necessary? What will happen if it doesn’t get done? I’m a total perfectionist but this question alone helps me eliminate about 30% of my “ooh, it would be really great if…” tasks.
  • Now ask the question again. Should you be doing this? Is it even your job? Are you best placed? Or is someone farming something out to you because you are a people pleaser/soft touch? You don’t have time to please people by accomplishing their work – you are busy pleasing your boss by accomplishing yours!
  • One last time. Should you be doing this? At this moment in time, is this the most urgent and important task on your list? If not – why are you working on it? My team knows that if I am filing, I’m definitely doing it because I’m putting off something important. Catch yourself before another day goes by.

 

Pomodoros and power hours. These are both bursts of intense focus to help you stay focussed on a task for a set period of time. Great if you’re someone who gets distracted easily – set a timer for 25 minutes (Pomodoro method, especially good for studying) or 60 minutes (yup, that’ll be a Power Hour, use for writing or larger tasks). Accomplished a burst of focus? Take a short break and reward yourself – espresso, five minutes of social media (set a timer!) or whatever is going to work best. Then do another one!

 

Scare yourself. Take a minute to close your eyes and visualise not getting this done. Will you get told off by accounting, be taken to court for unpaid bills, never be refunded for your travel and be unable to buy bread, eventually get fired for being ineffective? It doesn’t have to be totally realistic – but allow yourself to remember how much worse it could be if you keep putting it off.

 

The big guns. Get your most responsible friend/mum to nag you about this task until it’s completed, if all else fails. Psychologically – nagging works. What’s more annoying, telling your mum that you’re procrastinating and inviting her to nag you, or just filling out that damn payment request form?

 

Hope some of this helps you – let me know in the comments!

 

Thanks for reading,

PP x

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming procrastination

  1. I find power hours to be very effective for any type of sit-down work: like studying, working at a computer, checking/responding emails. And pomodoros work very well for cleaning or organizing tasks for me. 🙂

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  2. Power hours tend to help me most when I’m doing any sit-down tasks: studying, working at a computer, checking/responding emails. Pomodoros really work for me when I’m cleaning or organizing. 🙂

    Like

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