Life would be so much awesomer if we only did what our hearts and emotions wanted us to do each moment of the day. Unfortunately, there’s lots of little pieces in doing things that many times that we don’t want to do. Just this week I forced myself to learn how to use Logic Pro X for the upcoming podcast. I wanted to do better than what Garageband enables me to do. But Logic Pro looks so scary and detailed in comparison. But you know, if I want to eventually have professional sounding podcasts (which I’m pretty happy with my results thus far), then I know I need to put in the time to learn how to get it done.
So… what did I tell myself?
1. Just Do It!
Now if you can’t get done by simply following Shia’s advice, here are a few more pointers that might help you tackle your own project that you’ve been putting off.
2. Don’t just think about why you need to do this. MEDITATE on it.
Clear your mind and don’t think of anything else but this task. Don’t think about the phone call you’re going to get in a couple minutes. Don’t think about what you have to do with your friends in a few hours. Don’t think about what you’re going to feed the family when you get home.
Mind clear? Now, just take 5 or 10 minutes and think about why you want to do this task that you want to do. What will this task help accomplish? Who is it helping? Dig deeper and find the good that doing this task will be doing in the world. Every little job that is out there is going to mean more than you think it will. Even if it’s doing laundry. Doing the laundry will give you clean clothes so that you won’t be working in dirty ones next week.
3. Knockout the fear.
Chances are the biggest thing that’s keeping you back from what you’re wanting to do is fear. What will happen if I fail at the task? What will happen if someone finds out? What will happen if? Well, have you ever thought about what would happen if you don’t? I’m sure you have. That’s why you’re thinking about doing it in the first place! So embrace fear and just know that it’s part of the process. Hell, even when we learned to ride a bike we had fear. Now we look back on bike riding as one of those things we have to learn to do!
4. Embrace the Suck.
Very similar to fear, is knowing that something that you have to do is going to suck. It’s the elephant in the room. Just like learning a new piece of software or even cleaning out the garage. You know it’s going to be awhile before you see any fruit come of it. So what? Hard things suck, but in the end it will be worth it.
5. Letting Go of Perfection.
Man, I really struggle with this one. In college (and I can almost blame school in general for making me this way), I never wanted to do anything until I knew exactly how to do it. That I didn’t want to turn anything in until it was perfect. The truth is that nothing in life is perfect. Your living condition is never perfect. Your friends and family aren’t perfect. So why would you expect yourself to be? So let go of the fantasy, the ideal, the expectation of yourself. This task before you, it needs to get done. Shoot for the A-.
6. Focus on the Intention, not the Results.
So even if you shot for the A-, you might just completely fail altogether. This happens too. Prepare for the worst case scenario, but don’t expect it. If you fail, think about why you did it in the first place. Was your heart or mind in the right place? Yes? Great! Knowing that is half the battle! However, don’t quit there. Learn from the outcome. What could you have done better to have a better result? Failing is never really failing unless you don’t learn something from it.
7. Do a Little and Stop
Mini-breaks are key. So, let’s say that you have to write up a report for some presentation you’re going to give. Ok, it’s hard enough that you got to make the presentation, right? Well, what’s the best way to do all of this? Storyboarding it! Or if you remember back to high school, write an outline first!
Now, take a break – actually get up and get a drink of water or do some push ups. Actually take a mental break.
Now, go back to your outline and look at the first section – can that be divided even more? Yes? Make your sub points. No? Then write your first paragraph.
Take another break to get free. Go stretch, play with the dog for 5 minutes and come back.
Rinse and repeat. You’ll eventually find yourself in the flow and find that taking a break is actually starting to become annoying.
8. Give Yourself Constraints
This solution is somewhat the same but totally clutch. Totally kills procrastination for me. So you know when you have clean out a room (or the garage in my case) and you keep putting it off? Well, here’s a great way to get it done. Do the work according to a time frame. Do it for 20 minutes (or 10 minutes if it’s on the computer) and then regardless of where you’re at, just come to a complete stop. More than likely you’ll find it hard to do so and keep going until you find a point where you can. Best part is that after the break you take, you’ll find it easier to start because your mind will be like “Oh, I’ve already started on that and it wasn’t so bad!” Every little part helps. If you find yourself needing additional help, ask someone to hold you accountable.
9. Express Gratitude (maybe even in a journal form?)
The job that’s keeping you from doing the stuff you actually enjoy will probably result in great things. In my case, I was putting off learning the software, but now that I got it down, I have a template that I’ll be able to use to get things future podcasts done quicker. Changing things as I go, but at least I’ll have one, two, five sessions out there soon!
Like wise, if you find yourself going to a job you dislike, just appreciate the fact that you have one. You have money to buy food and keep a roof over your head! At least you can even do the job! Can you imagine that if you didn’t have sight how much that might set you back in doing it? Imagine life sucking even more and then try feeling sorry for yourself. That will give you a boost. “Well at least I’m not…” is always a great motivator for myself.
Alternatively, if you’re in a career you love, but you still find it hard to get out of bed, realize that you’re in a gifted position. Sometimes it’s easy to take things for granted, but realize that you could be in a job you hate or weren’t meant for. Go do what you’re great at and learn from it.
Having problems with expressing gratitude regularly? Look into the 5 Minute Journal. Expressing gratitude is no small matter. People who are highly successful use just this one thing to get TONS of things done.
10. Don’t overthink things.
Truth is, we can sit there thinking about doing a task… until we sit there and talk ourselves out of it. Realize that you can over think things. Don’t. Just realize that it might start happening, call it for what it is when you see it and restart your thoughts. “Damnit, I’m over thinking it!” is probably one of my most favorite release phrases I use now.
11. Learn and Grow
Just as I previously mentioned with riding a bike, we all can remember things that we’re glad we did when we were younger. Draw on that feeling to realize that what you’re about to do is going to be worth it. Realize that having this opportunity is a good thing in the end. It’s a learning opportunity. And frankly, spending your time learning is probably one of the best ways to spend your time.
How Do You Get ‘Er Done?
Below in the comments, share about how you use any of the above tactics to get things done. Is there any tips that you can give that might help someone break their procrastination? Chime in below with your procrastination hacks!