Being a former compulsive procrastinator, I know how hard it can be at times to get things done and how hard it can be to motivate oneself to complete any task, whether it was assigned to us, or self appointed.
I believe that writing things down plays a big part in overcoming the bulky tasks that might come your way. It has to be a conscious process in order for it to be effective.
To elaborate: Writing a task list on the Monday of each week to plan your weeks activities is a fantastic way of showing your mind that even though you may have a lot to do, tackling one task at a time makes them much more digestible. The trick is to trick the mind!
It’s like when you have to study for an exam; because your mind thinks that you have to read an entire book to prepare for the exam, straight away the body and mind give up before you’ve even started! Your mind is saying ‘lets do this’ and you body is going off to do something totally different!
Straight away, you’ve caused yourself a problem by bombarding yourself with a massive task. The best way to overcome this is to break down the task into much smaller chunks and then give yourself a reward when you’ve completed each stage. E.g. “I’ll read for half an hour and when I’m done I’ll go grab a coffee and relax for 10 minutes.”
The tough part is knowing how to get back to doing what it is that you need to do. Keep your task list with you! I write mine down on an A4 sheet of paper and keep it in my wallet or shirt pocket so that I can refer to it regularly.
Repeat the process from the beginning, set yourself a small goal, say 30 40 minutes of solid or reading or whatever the task may be, and then reward yourself with a short break. KEEP REFERRING BACK TO YOUR TASK LIST! The key here is to trick yourself into thinking that the task that lies ahead of you is only a short one and once you’ve completed that short term goal, give yourself a small reward.
I especially find this a fantastic method when it comes to the spring cleaning. I have a nasty habit of bombarding my mind with all the things that need to be done and then eventually I just give up because my body and mind get overloaded with requests and just cannot cope.
What you also need to do, is change the type of thoughts that you have when faced with a task. Think; “I choose to” as opposed to “I must” and “I can be successful if I…” instead of “I’ll never be able to”. The best way to do this is through meditation.
Spend some time in a quiet place that you find relaxing and maybe put on some music if you wish and begin the process of changing the less productive thoughts as illustrated above to more constructive and powerful ones. Thinking is a habit just as much as the way you drive or the way you style your hair. It is habitual and like anything else, can be changed, for the better, with conscious effort.
1. Keep a task list with you. A huge pad is probably not a good idea, use loose sheets of paper and scribble on it regularly. Of if you are a high tech bod tap it into a note on your iPhone or record a voice note. It’s too easy these days!
2. Cross tasks off one by one and only do one at a time. If one cannot be done, for whatever reason, move onto another quickly.
3. Reward yourself when you’ve completed tasks. Ask someone to do a bet with you that you’ll complete your tasks. If you do, they give you a reward like a massage or a free ride. If you fail, you owe them a forfeit! Make it fun!
4. Use meditation to get clarity on what really needs to be done and to keep you on track.
5. Update your list regularly and cultivate that habit until you no longer have to think about it.