For so many of us, our ambitions are GRAND. We think about our dream body, ideal relationships, and financial freedom. After we dream, however, the work remains. We find reasons we cannot complete the tasks that get us closer to our goals. We find excuses to justify our inaction. Someway, somehow, the disease of procrastination kicks in.
Yep, that’s right. It’s the nasty little feeling that keeps you away from your desires and goals. I want to give you 4 ways for you to overcome procrastination once, create a lifestyle of high performance and lead a life of fulfillment.
I don’t know about you but when I’m in a zone I almost feel unstoppable. In those moments, I am knocking out task after task and constantly checking things off my to-do list. When I finish I feel so satisfied and accomplished for how productive I’ve been. We live in a world of absolutes — when you act either you are getting closer to your goals and dreams (progress) or getting further away with them (procrastination). I want to share some tips and tricks on how I overcome my own issues of procrastination and get in my zone of productivity.
First off let’s define procrastination I believe in essence it’s the gap between intention and action. We have all been there: we know what we should be doing, but find a thing or reason to justify being pulled away from our task. James Clear defines procrastination as
“Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, whether you refer to it as procrastination or akrasia or something else, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.” (Procrastination: A Brief Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating)
The instances of you DOING something prove that you’re not lazy, but are prone to moments where you are doing things you shouldn’t be doing. procrastination can be as harmful — if not moreso.
I know why your thinking at this point:
“OK, I hear you and agree , now tell me what I need to do to change!
Well, here is my 5 step plan for kicking my procrastination:
Step 1: Declutter Your Space
One of the biggest reason people procrastinate is they live in chaos. Your, closet, home and car are clutter spaces. Focus is about the singularity of thought and clutter simply puts more objects in that line of focus. Dr. Bourg Carter of Psychology Today notes that “Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.” It can lead to other emotions like guilt, anxiety, and frustration, which further pull us from the various tasks at hand. Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies | Psychology Today
In my own life, I find that when things are cluttered, I feel overwhelmed and anxious — almost defeated. I default to inaction in that type of environment. I constantly strive to keep my home and workspaces uncluttered so that I can think clearly, creatively, and effectively. Once a year, I do a big purge and I encourage you to do the same. I’m talking clothes, books, papers, desk, drawers and anything that’s not intentional or useful as a way to get a better understanding of what you have and create the space you need for FOCUS.
Step 2: ORGANIZE AND MAINTAIN.
While a lot of times clutter is a result of having to many things, sometimes what seems like clutter is really disorganization. In fact, SimplyProductive.com states that“ 80% of the clutter in your home is a result of disorganization, not lack of space”.
Structure is ESSENTIAL to my life. My closet is organized so that all my polo shirts, suits, pants, and shoes are next to each other. The goal is to have the organization of a department store when you walk in — I’ll be able to find anything I need at a moment’s notice. Once you’ve cleared your space of the things that are not purposeful in your life, the next step is organizing the things that ARE.
The organization in your home extends to the workplace. A study by the National Association of Professional Organizers states that office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday due to a lack of organization, an essential skill for growth and advancement in the workplace. Everyone has a different way to get organized in the workplace, but this LifeHack article lists 15 ways we can all be better organized in the workplace. Check it out!
Take The Extra Step
So many times after we organize we go right back to our habit of disorganization (which is really LAZINESS). Once you’ve taken the time to be intentional about your organization, take the extra step to MAINTAIN that level of organization. A mess only starts out as a few papers out on your desk but turns into clutter amazingly fast. Create a habit of killing disorganization before it ever starts. Every time you see a the potential for clutter to grow, whether it’s at work or home, take the additional 5-10 minutes to put things back in there proper place.
Step 3: Schedule Your Day
The cell phone is the world’s most powerful tool and you’re probably reading this blog on it. The information it facilitates for us is amazing and when used intentionally, it can take your productivity to new heights! For me, scheduling my day starts with my morning routine. I plan my day the night before and fulfill my daily ritual to get ahead in my day. Take a look at my white paper on the Championship Morning to get the details on my scheduling & planning habits in the AM.
Champion Tip: In regards to your workout pick out your clothes the day before your workout and also pick out the type of workout you’re going to do. That way you’re not worrying about getting dressed or what you will be working at.
Scheduling is about identifying your priorities. I schedule personal events like time with my wife, my kids’ sports practices and games, as well as vacations because time with my family is important to me. When it comes to personal development, schedule time to read, for mindfulness and to workout.
Keeping a full schedule prevents procrastination. When you find yourself with the urge to procrastinate, you can look at your schedule and identify exactly what you could be working at. Start to schedule out your workday. Block time for important tasks, keep a calendar for any call and correspondence and even to think if it’s beneficial to your work.
Step 4: Protect Your Schedule
This is something we can all do a better job with. As my father told me long ago, “Someone’s lack of planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on yours.”
So many times, our schedules are thrown off track not by our own whims, but by the “emergencies” of our families, co-workers, employees, and friends. To maintain maximum efficiency, we must do a better job of setting boundaries on our times and clearly set expectations for people. While emergencies do happen, you are intentional, not a spur of the moment individual. Interactions must be scheduled as early as possible so that you can give the situation the attention, energy, and focus it deserves (or decline if it does not deserve/warrant your attention). At times it may seem intriguing to get a call and drop everything and go but every time you do that you get further and further from your own schedule and progress.
Stay the course. Protect your schedule.
Step 5: Develop A Clear Vision
Procrastination is the result of a lack of focus. In order to avoid procrastination, you must have a clear vision of where you are going in life. It must pull you toward itself every single day and be strong enough to push away everything that’s not heading in that direction. It’s where your ability to ignore the unnecessary is developed and the paradigm from which your priorities will be defined by.
Vision breeds clarity. Clarity breeds focus. Focus breeds structure. Structure breeds strategy. Strategy breeds productivity. Productivity breeds action. Action brings our vision to life
And action has no time to waste on meaningless tasks.
“Vision is a destination – a fixed point to which we focus all effort. Strategy is a route – an adaptable path to get us where we want to go.” Simon Sinek