Tuesday, March 22, 2011

how to beat procrastination

If there was an Olympic event for procrastinating, I would totally win the gold.  I am an excellent procrastinator.  I can find a million excuses to delay and avoid any unwanted task.  Unfortunately, this quality doesn't really serve me. 

My most dreaded {but completely necessary} tasks?  Paperwork and filing.  The thorn in my side.  And, it never ends!  Those papers just keep on coming!!  Ugh!! 

But, I have found a way to beat my procrastinating-ness {I like using made up words}.  If you are like me, maybe you can benefit from the same simple tips. 

Here they are:

1. Set a timer
You can do anything for 15 minutes.  Really, you can.  Get a digital timer and set it for 15 minutes.  You will be amazed what you can bust out in 15 focused minutes.  It's astonishing.  Buying a timer changed my life.  I'm not even kidding.  I'm a total geek like that. 

Besides being completely amazed at how little time avoided tasks actually take, the other benefit to the timer method is that it helps you stay on task and focused.  If I know that I am on the timer, I am less likely to start reading blogs, surfing the web or responding to emails.  {Because I am a creative person, staying focused is a constant battle for me.  I constantly have ideas popping into my head and it makes it hard to stay focused on what I'm doing.  If I have the timer set, I will make myself a note and get to that other idea later and stick with the task at hand.} 

2.  Find a way to get happy and be enthusiastic
Before I sit down at my desk to work through mail, accounting, or whatever other paperwork has landed there demanding to be dealt with, I put myself in a good mood.  I light a candle and I usually shut my office door to prevent distractions.  Sometimes I play a CD, but usually I like to work while it's quiet.  If I am going to clean, I will put on energetic music.  Whatever your task is, just find a way to be in a good place. 

3.  Work quickly
This one is so important.  If you work quickly you can get tons done.  Think of the most productive person you know.  Chances are, if you have seen them work, they move from task to task quickly and efficiently.  Not frantically, but just quickly.  They aren't stopping to check their email or chat on the phone or look at a catalog while in the middle of their task, they are just getting the work done.  When you work quickly, you don't have a chance to get distracted.  Distraction is the arch enemy of productivity. 

Now think again about that super productive person.  Have you ever seen them relax?  When their work is done, chances are they will relax completely and be totally immersed and undistracted.  That is the beauty of getting done what needs to be done efficiently and without procrastinating.  It means lots of guilt free time to do the things you really want to do.  And, that probably isn't paperwork.


  1. That timer does sound like a good idea. I might have to give that a try. I've been trying to make a more conscience effort to get the important things done FIRST, then move on to the things I want to do. But I get distracted easily as well. Like right now for instance. I should be making my way to that pillow I told my hubby I was gonna make him, but instead I'm commenting on your blog. Darnit!

  2. I used to use the timer for the kids..to get them motivated...i guess i just need to go back to Kindergarten myself! Thanks

  3. I have actually been thinking about the timer for awhile now.


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