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How to Overcome Procrastination

Thinking about tasks as intimidating and time-consuming is what slows you down. Try Get-It-Done Guy’s new approach and watch your resistance melt away.

By
Stever Robbins
Episode #209

Tip #3: Devise a Time and Reward Trigger

Even though 15 minutes is short enough that your brain will let you get started, you still need to kick it into action. Don't just assume you'll put in your time. Decide when you'll put it in. It can help to build in a reward for getting the job done or a punishment for slacking off. For example, my rule of thumb is that I'm not allowed to watch TV after 10 p.m. until I've put in my 15 minutes.

This strikes a perfect balance. I'm not depriving myself, so I don't resent my cleaning time. I can still watch TV early in the evening. But to keep goofing off, the fuzz busting must happen. Since late night is my favorite time to catch up on back episodes of The Office, this guarantees I'll make progress nightly.

Tip #4: Track Progress

Check off each day you do your 15 minutes.

Progress becomes even more effective when you see yourself making it. Put a little calendar on the inside of your bathroom cabinet door and check off every day you complete your 15 minutes. Pretty quickly, your brain will notice the strong connection between more checkmarks and less grout fuzz.

Tip #5: Don't Accumulate a Backlog

If you miss your 15 minutes one night, don't carry it over to the next night. That makes tomorrow night a 30-minute chore, and your brain doesn't want to deal with that much work. It also makes each night that much scarier, since you've re-introduced the threat of a single missed night turning into never-ending labor in the salt mines of your life.

Instead, if you miss your 15 minutes, just smile and wait until tomorrow to keep going. Tomorrow always comes. And if it doesn't, the grout will be the least of your worries.

Tip #6: Celebrate!

When you've put in your time, celebrate. Do the Black Grout Fuzz Dance! Give yourself a high-five. Give the grout a high-five! Then get back to your life until tomorrow. Keep your celebrations small and symbolic at this point. These are just to be the punctuation at the end of tonight's successful adventure.

Big tasks are easy to procrastinate because your brain thinks the tasks might swallow your entire life. Keep that from happening by dividing the task into bite-sized chunks of time. Connect the time to specific triggers, and give yourself a little reward when you've made progress each day. Don't accumulate a backlog, and for goodness' sake, remember to pat yourself on the back when you've done your time.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

I’m Stever Robbins. I mentor successful people in building exceptional lives, business, and careers by developing the courage to pursue their dreams. If you want to know more, visit http://www.SteverRobbins.com.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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