4 Steps to Beating the Procrastination Cycle
Procrastination my arch enemy. I was (and still can be) one of the world’s best at procrastinating.If they handed out medals mine would have been a gold every single day. (I could have been quite wealthy!) I bashed my snooze button every morning. I made my things to do lists each week and each day, I am also a list addict; and quite happily ignore them or put stuff off, take longer with the easier tasks and would use the ever unproductive phrase I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow as we know never comes and each week the same tasks would inevitably end up on the new list. My motivation was down. The judging voice in my head got louder. And with lack of motivation the procrastinating just got worse. A vicious circle.
However as I started to create conscious changes in my life, the more and more procrastination became an irritation, a useless tool in my toolbox for life. And at the same time a familiar and comforting habit. So through advice and searching the encyclopedia of the internet, not forgetting of course university Youtube I eventually found some techniques that worked for me.
So here are 4 tried and tested steps that you can use to beat the procrastination cycle:
The Miracle Morning – My absolute favourite
Miracle Morning is an amazing system created by the wonderful and energetic Hal Elrod. Inspired by the morning routines of the world’s most successful people, Miracle Morning takes roughly half an hour where first thing in the morning you do five minutes of Writing, Exercise, Meditation, Affirmations, Reading and Visualizations. You can do this in any order you like and choose how you wish to do these activities as long as its the first thing you do when you get up in the morning. It takes retraining of the snooze finger however this is one of the most energising routines I have ever had in my life. Check Hal’s presentation of the Miracle Morning on Youtube or visit his website.
Assuming you make a list of things to do each day whether at work or in your life (or if list addicted as I am both). It is easy to get caught up in your list, to trudge through it and still find at the end of the day you have achieved 10% of your goals for that day. Time wasting and demotivation. ABCDE is one of the best tools I have found to save all my wasted time. The process is simple. Look at your tasks for the day. Decide which are highest priority your A tasks. The B tasks would be great to achieve. The C you can move to another day if needed. The D tasks are the ones you can delegate (and yes that does include pass the washing up onto the teenage child). And E are expendable, not necessary, at least for now. After that just follow your priorities in order.
Eat that Frog!
Brian Tracy’s book is a fantastic motivator and a highly recommendable read for the constant procrastination offender. The concept is simple. Generally there is one task that you don’t want to do, need to do or will take a lot of energy to complete. This is your frog and you need to eat it. No one likes to eat frogs but by using energy to do this you will get a dopamine rush through self pride that can motivate you for you day even the entire week. So eat that frog straight away, first thing in the morning and start your day by being proud of you.
70% is a Fantastic day.
Seriously it is rare (and wonderful) to get 100% days where everything is done and you are rising high. We are all full of perfect imperfections and if we aimed for 100% achievement every day we run the risk of missing our expectations and heading down the path to the darkside. An ex once taught me the wonderful secret that 70% achievement is a fantastic day. 50% is average. And below 50% means checking out why these goals aren’t being reached, look to see if they are necessary. Be kind to yourself. Accept your results and move on. And if you do get that perfect golden 100% day. Celebrate it. Reward yourself. You are your own personal coach and team so treat yourself when you are exceptional, life is also about enjoyment.
So start your day inspired and motivated, prioritise your daily activities, tackle the most challenging task of the day and reward yourself for success and you will find that the procrastination cycle slips away and you productivity frees up your personal time so you can enjoy the journey of your life.