Here’s how to stop procrastinating and get things done. Follow these logical steps and you can achieve what you really want instead of dreaming about it.
How to Stop Procrastinating
Try this for 30 days
- Turn off all notifications that you have a new email in your inbox.
- Turn off all notifications that you have a new text/instagram/snapchat/social media message on your phone.
- Right now, and then every Sunday evening (put a note in your calendar), create a weekly “to do” list of the main things you want to accomplish. Don’t use an app or an online task tool. Write it in your own handwriting in a spiral notebook that you label “My Accomplishments.”
- Break your weekly goals into daily chunks. Examples: Finish writing proposal (2 hours), meeting about next steps (1.5 hours), etc. Add personal tasks, too: workout (1 hour), pick up groceries (1 hour), TV time (1 hour – limit this as much as possible).
- On Monday morning, look at your Monday list. That’s your punch list. Do it. Record how long each task actually took. Check off tasks as you complete them – again with your handwriting, not a button you click on an app. Do this daily.
- Before you leave work on Monday (then every day), look at that day’s list to see if you need to carry something over to the next day’s list.
- DON’T WRITE any carry-over tasks on the next day’s list. Instead, write them on their own sheet of paper and put each sheet on the floor next to your chair.
Why 30 days?
Some reports cite this as the minimum time required to train your brain a new habit. Other reports suggest the number varies widely, from 18 days to over 200 days with an average time of 66 days.
Here’s what will likely happen
- You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment every time you check off an item. This feels great!
- You’ll have several sheets on your floor. Don’t pick them up till the task is done. You’ll get annoyed with that paper lying there and probably just do the task to get it out of the way. This will create a habit.
- Over time, you’ll have a better sense of how long it takes you to accomplish a task. This is a great skill to have. When your boss asks how long that proposal will take to write, you’ll say probably 4 hours, not 2, and know that’s accurate. You’ll adjust the number of things on your task list accordingly.
- The kinesthetic feeling of writing something down in your own handwriting is becoming a lost art. Yet doing this simple task helps you remember things better. (A teacher once told me kids who need help studying for tests can often rewrite their class notes as a way to remember better.)
Get Things Done
Make your first list right now. Not in 5 minutes or tomorrow. Now!
There’s a risk that you’ll read this and say to yourself that you’ll get back to it, then move on (procrastinate).
For example, if you are thinking about starting a small business, use our startup guide as a trigger to begin. It contains step-by-step instructions on exactly what to do. So, it will help you stop procrastinating and get things done!