(DailyTreasure.com) – Procrastination is a common problem for nearly everyone. Sometimes it’s difficult to sit down and get to work. Unfortunately, procrastinating on important tasks can make your goals unattainable. But Daily Treasure has some tips to help beat procrastination and master your to-do list.
1. Define Your Tasks
Knowing whether a task is part of your routine or part of a larger goal can help boost your motivation levels and encourage you to set aside the appropriate amount of time. If you can impress on your mind how important the task is, it may be easier to focus and just get it done.
Some tasks will be routine items that need to get done, possibly repeatedly. Things like doing the laundry or washing the car, often require the same amount of time. It’s easy to block out a set amount of time on a specific day each week to knock these out. The task never comes as a surprise, and you know exactly how much time to allot before you can move on to other things.
Laddering Long-term Tasks
Tasks that ladder up to long-term goals will take more planning and determination, but certainly aren’t impossible. Map out the prerequisites you need to hit your big goals and break those down into smaller tasks and to-dos. Each task on your list should get you closer to the completion of a goal. Getting excited about the role that each task plays in your plans will help you stay focused.
2. Know When You’re Most Productive
The best time to schedule a difficult task is at your peak working time. You are probably aware that you are more focused during certain times of day, and can be distracted easier during other times. You should schedule difficult tasks for times when you are most focused and energized. Plowing through those tasks undistracted will leave you feeling accomplished.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Make your environment comfortable, but somewhat bland. That way the task is the most interesting thing to focus on. Make sure the television is off and that your internet browser is closed. Do whatever you need to do so that you can completely focus on the task at hand without interruption.
4. Set Personal Deadlines
Deadlines are a helpful tool. Set deadlines and then ask someone to hold you accountable, even if those deadlines are somewhat unofficial. The pressure of one peer waiting on you may be all it takes to break the procrastination cycle and take action. Setting firm deadlines for smaller parts of a large project can motivate you towards making sure the work gets completed on time while eliminating a lot of the stress in the days leading up to the true deadline.
5. Take Small Steps, and Just Tart
Not sure where to start? Choose the smallest, simplest step and work your way up. Writing an article, for example? Maybe this step is finding three sources, or maybe it is deciding on three subtopics. Commit a small amount of time, even 5 or 10 minutes, to this first step. Once you are started, the task will be easier to continue. Don’t lose the momentum, once you’ve completed the first small step, complete the next step and keep going until the project is finished.
6. Set a Reward Schedule
Rewards are very important because this is where your brain gets its motivation. But not all of your rewards can be long-term gains on your goals. If all the rewards are at some indistinct time in the future, you will become discouraged and the desire to procrastinate will be even stronger. Work some some small rewards into your schedule for when you hit certain benchmarks. Maybe a bubble bath or a nice trip to the coffee shop is just what your mind needs to reset and be ready for the next challenge.
7. Forget Perfectionism
Winston Churchill said, “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” One of the major reasons that individuals procrastinate is that they are afraid of making mistakes. It’s easy to put off a project until you know more, or have more experience, or until it feels right. The problem is that attitude results in not starting at all. You can’t learn without mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes until you start doing the task. It is time to jump in and slay your tasks so that you can slay your goals.
Procrastination is something that even the most successful people struggle with from time to time. It can be really hard to complete your to-do list when there are a hundred other things vying for your attention. Don’t let those distractions keep you from your goals!
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