Three Steps to Help You Handle Procrastination

Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him. Charles Dickens

According to Piers Steel (love that name), author of The Procrastination Equation, about 95 percent of people admit to putting off work at one time or another (perhaps the other 5 percent didn’t complete the survey). It’s a good guess that many of us procrastinate with checking social media, surfing the net, or watching television. Here are three suggestions to help you re-wire your procrastinating brain.

  1. Just begin. Duh, that’s the obvious part we can’t seem to get to. Let go of your expectations and judgments and just begin. Give yourself a specific start time. Set aside outcomes for now and start the task in a messy way.
  2. Take a timed break. This may seem counterproductive but if you know you’re going to get a break eventually, it will help you get started. “If I work on my book for an hour, I can read someone else’s for ten minutes.” Set a timer if necessary so you don’t go down a rabbit hole.
  3. CYA. Celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t expect others to pat you on the back. Give yourself credit for overcoming procrastination and completing, or at least starting, a task. Procrastination is usually a response to the unpleasant feelings associated with a task. Rewire your brain for a positive message.

Affirmation: I can overcome procrastination.

Coaching questions: What are you procrastinating about right now? Get off the internet and get to it! (I’m glad you read my blog first) 

Pay Attention!

If we don’t consciously choose where we want to direct our attention, there will always be something in our path to misdirect it. Linda Stone, writer and consultant

Stone coined the phrase “continuous partial attention,” the idea that we pay partial attention continuously out of a desire to not miss anything. We are constantly on the lookout for something more interesting than what’s before us. In an age of endless distraction, paying attention to any one person, idea, or task at a time can be challenging.

Taking a moment between tasks will help you strength your attention factor. Deliberate rest will also recharge your energy. I’ve noticed that when I take a break from writing or other tasks, I return with renewed energy and focus. Time away is not lost productivity but the opposite. At this busy time of the year, take a break, a deep breath, and recharge so you can give your full attention to the people and events you treasure. 

Affirmation: I pay attention.

Coaching questions: What’s distracting you? What keeps you from giving tasks, friends or loved ones your full attention? What will you do to remedy your continuous partial attention?