Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How To Get Things Done Instead of Procrastinating

Well when I have a pending task to accomplish, from cleaning house, to editing a book, to running errands, I follow the same format to motivate myself to stop procrastinating.

I begin by centering my mind on the task at hand and sort of procrastinate by making lists.

1.
Make lists I make lists of EVERYTHING! Post-its are my friends. Make lists of the things you want to do. List long term goals, short term goals, and categorize them. Often when I am writing a list for one thing, another thing pops into my head and I make a new list for that topic. If I have it all written down, I don't have to waste so much energy remembering it all day in and day out. This does take time, but it is well worth it. You feel like you've gotten some direction when you are finished. The bonus to list making is the satisfying check marks you can place beside completed items. And the greatest reward is beign able to throw the list away when it is exhausted.

2. Prioritize Once you have your lists, put them in some sort of order. Maybe star the items that you need to do right away. You most likely already have them in long term and short term categories, but some of the short term goals are most likely steps toward a larger goal. Those steps can be prioritized or ordered into a very workable schedule.

3.
Clear your schedule For me, that might mean removing my kids from the hem of my skirt! It also means giving yourself a block of time to achieve your goals. The ways I suggest doing so, are as follows:

4.
Remove your distractions Turn off the ringer on the phone, turn off your cell, turn off the tv or radio or ipod. Do not open an internet window unless your goal is internet related. Gather whatever you need to achieve your goal and ONLY what you need to achieve your goal.

5. Say no If someone asks you to something when you are trying to accomplish a task, tell them you are busy. In the case of my children, this teaches them patience. (Though you have to address their needs, not ignore them forever!) Don't overbook yourself, or take an offer from someone to avoid doing whatever it is you need to do. If you've set aside time and planned this far in advance for the task, you'd better follow through!

6. Do it! Now that you've cleared your calendar and removed the distractions and have your space all set up, get going! There is no time like the present.

7.
Reward yourself! Goodness knows we wouldn't do anything for nothing, we are human after all! You'll never get anything done if you are not giving yourself some sort of treat when you are done. You can choose an intrinsic reward like satisfaction, or an extrinsic reward like food, an event (shopping counts), or a glass of lemonade on the porch.
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