“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
My last trilogy of blogs focused on building relationships and their importance to life and work. Last week we began a trilogy addressing momentum, consistency, and eliminating procrastination. These issues negatively affect our work, home, and life balance. Hopefully these blogs can help to minimize the negatives of these issues and give you some tools to maximize your productivity.
Everyone has put off something important. It’s normal. It’s human. And it’s everywhere and seems to be getting worse.
We put off our boss, we put off our family, we even put off the things we ought to be doing to take care of ourselves. Procrastination has been called the thief of time, but it’s much more damaging than that. Procrastinating kills forward momentum, keeping you from accomplishing the things you set out to do. It causes you to constantly be focusing on yesterday instead of looking forward.
If you, like many others, are prone to procrastination, read on to find out a half dozen surefire strategies designed to help you overcome procrastination. Soon you’ll be gaining momentum again right where you need it most: on the path to your dreams.
Understand the Root Causes
Procrastination often stems from various underlying causes, such as fear of failure, lack of motivation, or feeling overwhelmed. Take the time and make the effort to identify the specific reasons behind your procrastination. Self-awareness is the first step in addressing the issue. Speak to others as necessary to see where these issues are emanating from.
Identify common distractions in your workspace and possibly mind, then take steps to eliminate or minimize them. This could include turning off your phone, shutting down LinkedIn and Facebook, using website blockers, or finding a quiet place to work free of distractions. Despite our belief we can multitask (not me), we don’t have the cognitive capacity to do multiple things with excellence.
Eat the Elephant
The story goes how a decree went out over the kingdom. The challenge was simple, great wealth and prestige to the person who could eat an elephant. Many looked at the challenge and scoffed at it. “Impossible,” they said. One small voice spoke up, a child. “It’s simple. You do it one bite at a time.” The same holds true in your life. Big tasks? No problem. Break them up into smaller and smaller tasks. Once you have those, get to work. Eat that elephant, one bite at a time. Believe it or not, you’re going to find out it gets a lot easier as you go along. Bon Appetit!
This one bite philosophy is essential in the investigation, audit, and interviewing arena, we must break down responsibilities into manageable tasks to ensure success. We have too much elephant on our plate to consume it all at once.
Master the To-Do List
Got a long list of things to do? It’s easy to stall out when everything looks difficult and even impossible. The trick here is to get in motion with some real success to start you right. Pick the three easiest things on your list. Then sit down and push through, accomplishing them one at a time. Be sure to cross them off the list when you finish. Accomplishment feels so good and creates momentum all its own.
Once that momentum is created, we must turn on the perseverance to keep us moving forward and accomplishing objectives along the way.
Timing is Everything
Bigger tasks getting you down? If you can’t break them up, try grabbing a timer. Set it for no more than 15-20 minutes and see what you can get done. Break, stretch, then get back to it. Make a challenge of it if you want, seeing how much more you can get done the next time around. You’ll be surprised at how quickly things get moving again.
The thing to remember is what you’re trying to do is push yourself into motion. Once you begin to build momentum, it will take on a life of its own and you’ll find it easier and easier to keep going. Thank you, Newton, for your law that addresses this. That’s the beauty of it. So whichever tactic you pick, realize you might need to grit your teeth and dig in initially. In the end? You’ll be glad you did.
Adopt a Growth Mindset
Embrace the idea that mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. Perfection doesn’t exist, so looking for that perfect solution can paralyze you. A growth mindset can reduce the fear of failure and increase your willingness to act. You recognize that failure is an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed in even bigger ways. Perfectionism is sure to maximize your procrastination.
“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.”
Take this list and reflect on each. Which of the six be helpful when you hit those roadblocks and hazards along the way? Which would improve your focus, motivation, and productivity? Pick one to employ when that next obstacle appears and deploy it.
Over the course of the next month imagine how much change you can make to your momentum and performance. Fixing several of these will make a huge change in your production and results. This is not a complete list. I could list another ten. So, as you evaluate your performance see if there are others that should be prioritized to address.
Anderson Investigative Associates is positioned to custom-tailor training to your specific needs. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the above issues of overcoming procrastination, keeping momentum, and developing perseverance, or any training need, please reach out. Additional issues pertaining to interviewing, auditing, and investigations can be found in other blogs and videos that we have produced and are contained in most blocks of instruction that our company presents.
If you have additional questions, comments, or have an interviewing topic you would like me to address, give me a shout. In the meantime, be well, stay safe out there, and get busy using tools to remove the roadblocks to momentum, perseverance, and removing procrastination from your work….it will change many aspects of your life.
Mark A. Anderson
Director of Training and Development
Anderson Investigative Associates, llc
114 Loucks Avenue
Scottdale, PA 15683