I am a fan of the television show The Big Bang Theory. In a recent episode, we saw the guys (Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Wolowitz ) trying to come up with a new invention. However, each one found a reason to procrastinate. They watched movies, searched the internet, and went off on tangent conversations.
How often does this happen in our lives? We have something really important we want to do, but we just keep doing all the other stuff. The guys from the TV show tried negative reinforcement. It did not work. If you are already feeling guilty about not doing what you are supposed to be doing, you are already punishing yourself.
So what works?
Here are some tricks of the trade to help you get over the P word:
- Relocate yourself. If you are working on a deadline of a project and you stray– to check e-mail, doodle, or just start staring into space, get up and walk away. While you are walking, breathe and remind yourself of the goal to finish the project. You could change the goal to just completing that one page, or sentence, or simply come to a stopping point where you can return another time.
- Break large goals into small tasks. This is a basic winner. Instead of working for two hours, give your brain a rest after a few shorter sessions, with a timed break.
- Reward yourself for completing small tasks. When you complete the task, have a cookie, a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, a yoga stretch, or take a walk and enjoy nature.
- Practice accountability. Sometimes we need an accountability partner to help keep us on track. Find someone that you trust,that will accept periodic updates on your success. Keep it simple, and send them a short e-mail to let them know you completed the 2 hour project, or you took a walk and successfully got back to work.
Finally, if you continue to procrastinate about the same task over and over, it may be time to find something else to do that holds your interest!