I recently wrote about David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” concept because, let’s face it, we all need a little motivation and tips to get things done quickly and efficiently. You know, so we can avoid the stresses of deadlines and overwhelming sensation of unfinished work. My girl Emma McGowan even wrote about the top tools to help you save time. Now, I’m going to drive the pro-productivity point home again with these top tips to avoid procrastination.
1. Prepare yourself
Let’s say you’ve got a big task at hand. Maybe it’s researching business plans, or editing a demo video. Whatever it is, make sure you prepare yourself for it. That means organizing everything that will help you get the task done more efficiently – lighting, materials, chillout compilation CD, or a gallon of green tea. The more prepared you are to tackle the task, the more focused you’ll be and the less likely you’ll be distracted.
2. Afternoon re-start
I actually had something like this happen to me on Saturday. I woke up at 3pm (don’t ask), and thought, “Wow, there goes a whole day of productivity and sunlight.” The latter was true, but I told myself I was not going to let a late start ruin the rest of my day. If you’ve spent the whole morning and afternoon Facebooking and Pinteresting, don’t just kick yourself and throw in the towel. Close your social network time-wasters, re-assess and prioritize the tasks you need to accomplish and utilize the second half of the day.
I have a problem with outsourcing – I usually try to be Superwoman and do everything myself. But there is no shame in asking for help, in fact, you’ll find most people are willing to take a bit of the load off of you (especially if you’re a raging ball of anxiety). So, if there are smaller things that can be easily done by another person, reach out and focus on getting the most important things done.
4. Self-discipline, baby
So this is a hard one but probably the most important. There are so many distractions throughout the day that, without self-discipline, we can easily get sucked into. For example, the “putting things off because I really need to check out my friend’s Facebook wedding album,” black hole of procrastination. Sign-out, check your email less frequently and FOCUS on the task at hand.
5. Treat yourself
You have to take care of number one, so when you’ve worked hard and completed something, reward yourself. For me, I usually don’t eat lunch until I finish my first article of the day, that means the hungrier I get, the faster and more focused I am on my work. Thinking about a special little treat after a finished task can be really helpful motivation. If you want to big-picture it, think about the huge treat that can come of your hard work. That’s right, we’re talkin’ growing your company, making money, and eventually… success! Now, that’s a reward worth avoiding procrastination for.