You're more at risk than ever before of being sucked into a procrastination trap. We are living in a world where there is an unprecedented amount of distraction (8 million adults in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD), and unlimited opportunities for multitasking, which has been scientifically proven to drain our brain.
There are 4 main causes of procrastination:
- Fear of Failure.
- Obsession with Perfectionism.
- Low Energy Levels.
- Lack of Focus.
Virtually all of my CEO clients get derailed by at least 3 of these 4 reasons during any given week. They are exhausted, they haven't grasped the concept that perfection is the enemy of progress, and they are being pulled in too many directions to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.
There are dozens of articles with lengthy lists on how to tackle procrastination. However, I personally find long lists on how to do something overwhelming and paralyzing, which makes me not do anything. The list becomes yet another rabbit hole and distraction, further impeding me from accomplishing my task.
To set you up for success, I have shared the 4 strategies that you can implement immediately to move beyond your procrastination and onto task completion. They don't involve psycho-analyzing yourself to know why you procrastinate, and they don't involve multiple steps.
They simply tell you what to do in the moment to get your work done.
Plan to Eat the Frog First.
Brian Tracy immortalized this analogy in his best-selling book, "Eat That Frog: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time." By planning our least enjoyable tasks first, we get them out of the way instead of feeling their weight on our shoulders through our day or week. My clients use a prioritization worksheet that helps them organize their most urgent and important tasks so that they can check them off as they complete them.
Realistically Schedule Time to Complete Your Task.
Block off time in your calendar to complete a task, and protect that time. Assume it will take you longer than you anticipate, and include buffers so that other commitments are not bumped up against your task. Otherwise, you'll stop your task in mid-completion to honor your next commitment, and it will still be unfinished.
Shut Down All Distractions.
One of the worst distractions is the social media notifications, every time you get a connection request, or are tagged, or someone responds to a post. I disabled social media notifications long ago. I go into each platform once a day to go through my notifications, and respond to those that require my engagement.
I also shut down my email and activate Do Not Disturb (except family members) on my phone while I'm working on a deadline.
Delegate As Much as You Can.
Finally, if you don't love it and are not good at it, someone else should do it. If you have a task on your list that literally causes a negative physical reaction (anxiety, a headache, nausea), get rid of it. You aren't the best person to do it anyway, it will take you much longer than someone who enjoys it, and your time is best served on other tasks.
In a world that is now controlled and defined by an onslaught of distractions, we must establish strong personal boundaries to stay productive.
Now, shut down your browsers and email, disable your notifications, and get to work.