10 tips to stop procrastinating sometime in the future…Sorry, I mean RIGHT NOW
Being a procrastinator might be in your genes. This is according to a report in the Journal Psychological Science, which says something about it being linked to impulsivity and I don’t know, I meant to read the article but I never got around to it.
You know how it is, you mean to update your resume/LinkedIn, look for a new job, start a blog, but before you know it, you’ve fallen behind on everything and you feel like you’ve dug a hole for yourself you’ll never get out of. (This also applies to getting in shape, cleaning the house, writing a novel, but I’m sticking to the job-related stuff because that’s what we do around here.)
Procrastination can wreak havoc on your career, social life, and pretty much everything else.
But how do you stop procrastination and start actually doing stuff? Here are some tips, some of which have worked for me in the past and others that would never work for me but might work for you.
Just do it: I know, you’re like “Shut up. If I could just do that I wouldn’t need help.” But you’re not helpless and you’re not a child and you are in charge of your own self. Only you can decide to just do the thing that needs to be done to get the thing done, and you have to do that in order to get the thing done. Nobody is going to do it for you. Unless you’re a bajillionaire and you can pay someone to do it for you, in which case, why are you reading this?
Break big goals into smaller goals: You want to be the ruler of the universe, but first you have to update your resume. Set that one goal and do that. Then put your feet up and have a glass of wine/cupcake/whatever. The next day, update your LinkedIn. If you’ve fallen out of touch with the people of your network – something you must have in place in order to get ahead – reach out to three of them each day. Say you were just thinking of them and that you wanted to catch up, not that you want to use them to further your plan for world domination. If the mess in your house is too big to tackle, make your bed. The next day, clean the bathroom. Keep the bigger goal in mind, though. This guy calls it “Macro goals and micro quotas.”
Go somewhere else: If the TV is too tempting, go work in a coffee shop. Some people I’ve known have rented offices outside their homes to get work done. Go to the park. Wherever you go, try to make it somewhere you’re unlikely to run into people you know.
Stop wasting time on social media: Social media is an essential networking tool and part of the job search, so I would never suggest you shut it off. It’s also an integral part of jobs in many industries, like mine. As a content producer and marketer, I’m required to use social media all the time. I use it to network, to promote content, to source ideas. The key is to use it wisely. This means that when you catch yourself getting into arguments, mindlessly scrolling through the news feed, or creeping people’s pictures, stop, and go do something useful.
Make lists: Write down what you need to do and cross things off as you do them. Every time you cross something off you feel better and more motivated.
Tell people about your goals: This is someone else’s suggestion, so I assume it works for some. The idea is that you will lose face when someone asks you, “So, how’s that great Canadian novel you were writing coming?” and you haven’t actually started it. I don’t find this to be effective because a) I’m not that invested in what people think and b) I usually assume people aren’t really listening anyway. But, hey, it might work for you. I find it more fun to tell no one then be like, “Look what I did!”
Get a buddy: Again, this is someone else’s suggestion that doesn’t work for me. In the past I’ve tried running buddies, gym buddies, writing buddies, job search buddies, diet buddies. It’s never panned out. I work best alone, I guess. But YOU, yes YOU. It might work for you.
Surround yourself with successful people: If your peers are sitting around doing nothing, you’ll be less motivated. Seek out people who are energetic and inspiring, and you will have something to aspire to.
Make no excuses: You can’t write your resume because your computer keeps crashing/you don’t feel well/it’s Christmas/you’re too drunk. Stop it. You’re not fooling anyone but yourself.
Use the three minute rule: I think the idea here is that you make just a three-minute commitment to furthering your goals. Like devote just three minutes to updating your resume, then I think you’re supposed to be surprised when you find you’ve spent an entire hour on it. That wouldn’t work for me because I’m not easily tricked by my own self. Or, I guess you could end at three minutes and call it a day, and you’d at least be three minutes closer to achieving your goal. Either way, just putting it out there.