Are you one of those people who has a to-do list that reads like Santa's shopping list? You look at the list and it's so overwhelming you make continual excuses to not even tackle anything on the list or you start the list but go off on tangents and don't actually get anything done.
If you're one of those people who gets to the end of the day exhausted but feeling like you have nothing to show for it at the end of the day, chances are you're suffering from Chronic Procrastination.
Symptoms include -
excessive and inventive excuses
constant stress and fatigue
never having enough time in the day
never having time to do things you want
never taking time out for you
half of your body mass is made up of coffee, caffeine and ginseng
Fortunately treatment is available for Chronic Procrastination. Follow this Ten Step program for taking control and learning to smile again.
10 - Keep a Diary
Spend Ten minutes planning the next day each evening. This will help you to turn your brain off. Once you've written down your list for the following day, you can put it out of your mind and won't toss and turn all night trying to remember things.
9 - Learn to Prioritise
Define a personal value system. If some tasks you do aren't in alignment with your higher priorities, axe them.
8 - Have a Purpose
By defining your purpose in everything you do and say, you will be working with intent and stay focused. Some people drift through life and wonder why they don't seem to get anything done. If you are a writer, define the purpose of what you want to say before you start writing. Ask yourself - What am I trying to say? Why do I want to say it? What do I want my reader to do? If you are a business person, use the same strategy for your business planning.
7 - Break the tasks down into smaller chunks
Don't overwhelm yourself with large tasks that just keep getting put off or stressing you out. Break it down into smaller chunks then choose one small task to do. An object in motion tends to stay in motion.
6 - Surround yourself with the right people
Start networking with other people with similar interests. Cut the negative and naysayers. They only drag you down. Share stories and ideas with other people already working or achieving in the industry and learn from their life experiences. Surrounding yourself with positive people inspires you to action.
5 - Un-learn how to Multi-Task
While some of us wear multi-tasking as a badge of honour, by doing too many things at once and not focusing on one task at a time, you don't get to enjoy any activities you do and you're not delivering 100% effort into any tasks. By establishing focus and quality as part of your identity, you will attract the right clients to you.
4- Learn to say 'No'
I'm a 'natural' at a lot of things I undertake and was always a people pleaser. Everyone else was pleased except me. I was burned out. You don't even need an excuse. Just be firm and learn to say 'no'.
This one is a companion to prioritizing. If someone wants you to sort something out for them, you're not doing them any favours by doing this. They will not appreciate your effort and in turn they may also lose the lesson or experience they could have had as a result of taking action themselves.
Also say no to freebies. I've had friends ask for a free copy of my book. If you can't cough up $30 for my book, then clearly your measure of the value of both me and my work is not worth a hell of a lot.
3 - Outsource
Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it. There are a lot of websites where you can outsource pretty much any administrative task you can think of for a very cheap price.
I use a site called Odesk. You simply post an advertisement for what you want done and freelance professionals apply for the position with their nominated fee. You can get administrative tasks, graphic design, copywriting or web design done for a fraction of the cost it would be locally and many of the applicants from India and Malaysia are university educated.
2 - Spend 5 minutes clearing your head before you begin
Before you start any task, clear you mind of anything else on your list and focus on what you're about to do. Focus on the task being complete and then get started. Don't allow distractions. Have a clear workspace and turn the phone off while you are working on your tasks. Appointments with yourself are just as important as if you were in an important meeting with a client. Don't put the value of other people's time above your own.
1 - Reward Yourself
Before you set out to do a task, set in mind a reward that you will give yourself when it's complete. It doesn't have to be a material reward; it can be something like taking an hour off to go to the park for a walk or a nanna nap. It can be a new pair of shoes or something you can anchor a positive feeling to. Rewards give you something to work towards and encourage you to start the next task.
Lather, rinse, repeat - Make these things a habit and you'll soon find you have time for more important things in your life.