Procrastination might seem harmless enough; but when you start to tally up all the time you have wasted in the past week, month, or year, it becomes significantly more disconcerting.
As somebody who struggled for years with procrastination (to the point where it had disastrous consequences on my education and professional life) I understand the pain that can be caused by failing to achieve the things you desire in life.
If you are tired of wasting precious moments of your life to procrastination, then pay close attention. In this article you are going to discover ten effective strategies to help you fight procrastination and get your groove back.
I’ve tested these techniques myself (and helped implement them in the lives of others) and strongly believe that they will work for you.
10 Ways To Stop Procrastinating
1. Set Yourself a Goal to Achieve
One of the most effective ways to fight back against procrastination is to have a goal to work towards in your life. Whether it is something as simple as completing your next essay, through to running a marathon for the first time, a goal will help you focus your energies and provide impetus to get up and get things done.
Just remember that it pays to set a realistic goal. So if you’ve never so much as picked up a microphone before, don’t expect to be a virtuoso singer by the end of the month. Setting unrealistic goals only places you in a position of likely disappointment, which is not going to encourage you to take action.
2. Discover Your Biggest Distractions
All of us are liable to be distracted by certain things. Whether it is social media, texting, or good old fashioned chinwagging with colleagues, there is bound to be something that has a tendency to keep you distracted from your work.
You need to identify your biggest distractions and time-wasters, and then try to eliminate or block them when you need to get work done.
For digital distractions, such as social media, the solution is surprisingly easy; there is a plethora of tools online that you can use to temporarily block websites for a set duration of time.
I’m a big fan of the StayFocusd extension for Google Chrome, which makes blocking websites like Facebook and Twitter an absolute breeze.
If you find yourself being distracted by coworkers, friends in the library, or family members around the house, then invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones for when you need to be working. These serve two purposes; firstly, you will be able to block out distracting noises. Secondly, you will put up a “defensive barrier”that discourages those around you from interrupting your work flow.
I’ve always found that the simple act of wearing a pair of headphones while working in an office prevents colleagues from interrupting me, except under truly important circumstances.
3. Keep Track of Where You are Wasting Time
In the realm of personal finance it is very much au fait to keep track of the money you spend on a daily basis. From that Starbucks coffee on the way to work, through to a takeaway lunch; the small amounts of money you spend all add up over time to create a big figure that you could have saved.
Unfortunately, this activity has not proven very popular when it comes to seeing where you spend the time in a day. In order to get a good perspective on just how much time you might be wasting due to procrastination, you need to make a concerted effort to record where you are spending your time.
I suggest carrying around a notebook and pen for the next few days, and then write down the time you spend doing everything. Keep track of seemingly insignificant events as well, such as the time spent showering, or cooking dinner, or doing laundry.
The whole point here is to build up an accurate picture so you can.
a) See how much time you are wasting in an average day
b) Work out exactly how you are wasting that time
This will be a truly eye-opening experience, which help put procrastination in context and inspire you to take action. You can then use the information you gather to help you identify particular activities that waste a lot of your time.
4. Use Productivity Apps
In the age of the smartphone there is an almost endless supply of quality apps and programs that you can carry with you wherever you go, which will help you to beat procrastination and manage your time more effectively.
I’m a big fan of using “to-do list”apps that allow you to create a list of tasks you wish to complete in a day, and then check off as you complete them. There are so many excellent choices for both iPhone and Android, although I personally use an app called Todoist.
Having a list of tasks you want to complete is a great way to structure your day and focus your effort – and using a productivity app brings a whole new world of convenience to your fingertips.
5. Identify Crucial Work & Attack it First
Although I’m a big fan of trying to get everything complete, I also believe that prioritisation of work is extremely important – and is something that can really help you to become more motivated and fight back against procrastination.
You need to identify the most crucial/important work on your schedule, and then do that first. There’s no point in wasting your time, energy, and drive on doing insignificant tasks first (although it is always tempting to do so if those tasks are easier to complete).
Make sure you tackle any mission-critical work first, so that you can dedicate the maximum amount of energy possible to it. If you do less important work first, then by the time you have completed that you will probably feel too drained to effectively tackle the important tasks.
6. Look for (Ethical) Shortcuts
There is a popular (and sadly misattributed) quote by Bill Gates that describes how he prefers to hire lazy people, as they tend to find the swiftest solutions to a problem.
Although it would be crazy to describe laziness and procrastination as a positive, you can leverage off these traits in order to look for shortcuts when doing work or performing any given task.
For example, I used to work in a marketing agency where I had to create monthly reports in Excel, in order to show clients where their budget was being spent. The process I was taught for this involved a number of redundant steps, as well as actions that I had a hunch could be better automated in Excel.
I did a quick bit of research and discovered some Excel functions I could use to practically automate the entire reporting process. Although I was taking an unsanctioned shortcut, the output was exactly the same and I was able to complete three reports in the time it usually took to do one!
However, if you are going to go down the shortcut route, then you need to ensure that whatever you do does not have a negative impact on the quality of your work.
If taking a shortcut means notably worse results (or, in even more serious circumstances, that someone could suffer harm or loss because of your actions) then it’s best to do the work properly – even if that takes a whole lot more time.
7. Visualize Success and Motivation
The power of visualization is real, and it can bring amazing benefits to your life. If you’re struggling with procrastination or lack of motivation, then I want you to give visualization a try.
What you need to do is focus your mind on what feeling motivated and taking action would be like. To do this it helps to visualize yourself doing a particular task or activity (e.g. going for a run).
Bear in mind that visualization is more complex than giving a passing thought to something you want to do. It requires true dedication and focus to achieve results from visualization. You need to imagine the sights you will see, sounds you will hear, and emotions you will feel, when you achieve what you wish to complete.
8. Improve Lifestyle Factors
In order to stop procrastination, find motivation, and become more energetic, you need to also look at lifestyle factors. I’m talking about things like diet, exercise, and sleep.
In my experience, people who have poor diets, exercise infrequently, and get insufficient sleep, are all more prone to procrastination. The reasons for this are numerable; what matters is the change you can make!
You don’t need to totally overhaul your life and go all super-healthy on everyone. However, by making some modest lifestyle changes you can really improve your chances of becoming more energetic and motivated – which, in turn, will help you to beat procrastination.
In order of importance, I would recommend that you focus on:
- Getting regular exercise to elevate your mood and enhance mental focus
- Ensuring you get sufficient sleep, so that you have the energy you need to be active
- Improving your diet (reduce the amount of processed/junk foods you eat, and increase the amount of vegetables, fruit, and “brain foods”, such as oily fish in your diet).
9. Break Tasks Down Into Smaller Parts
Another excellent strategy for making work easier (and more appealing to do) is to break tasks down into smaller parts.
For example, that essay you need to write by Monday morning might seem like a massive mountain now …but if you break it down into its constituent parts – research, intro, argument, conclusion, proofing etc – it suddenly becomes a series of small hills!
Almost everything you could ever hope to do in life can be broken down into smaller parts, which you can then tackle head-on. Small tasks are easier to complete, require less time, and are less daunting to attempt.
10. Force Yourself to Take Action
My father used to tell me that even when you’re down, lacking energy, and feeling unmotivated, one of the best steps you can take is to literally force yourself (against your own will) to take action. This is a rather strange concept to grapple with, but basically you need to pick something you need to do, and then accomplish it …even if you aren’t feeling so much as slightly motivated to do so.
Here’s an anecdote to help explain my point: I had a friend who was desperate to get in shape, but he could never quite bring himself to get to the gym; his reason being that he didn’t feel motivated at the time to do so. I told him one evening that he needed to force himself to go to the gym, and that as soon as he hopped on the treadmill he would feel much better for it.
Lo and behold, this simple act of encouragement helped, and he managed to cajole himself into taking action. Since that first baby step he has become a true gym junkie, and is deservedly reaping the rewards.
Forcing yourself to take those baby steps will have a similar effect in your life. Get over the feeling of not wanting to do something, and just do it. After all, the best solution for procrastination is to get something done.
Procrastination isn’t an incurable disease that has to linger over all of your life. It is something that can be overcome with the right mental attitude and resources.
Start dedicating yourself to beating procrastination, set a goal to be motivated, and watch the results materialise when you start to take action.
How to Be a Selfless Leader in Your Business
Leaders are required to make decisions daily that impact the success of the business and its bottom line. Understanding leadership training key terms can offer insight into core values and principles associated with leading people. Leadership training prepares leaders to recognize a variety of leadership styles prevalent in many organizations, the significance of communication, team building, and establishing a vision.
The following 6 key terms are important to building foundational skills in leadership:
1. Leadership style
Leadership style is the process of exploring the methods leaders use to approach guiding human capital in the workplace or on organized projects. It can encompass persuasive presentation skills that inspires trust, integrity, character, positive role modeling and other behaviors useful when working towards a goal.
2. Vision planning
According to leadership experts, a vision is an idealized picture or snapshot of the future, and vision planning is the ability to communicate core values and articulate a sense of direction by implementing a plan as it pertains to this vision. Organizational vision encompasses a strategic plan that generates motivational impact and leads employees to a specific outcome or shared desired goal.
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell
3. Team building
Team building is the method a leader chooses to empower a group of people using motivational strategies and guidance to accomplish a specific task. Effective team building must encompass an understanding of organizational culture and the dynamics of teamwork in order to exceed shared goals and objectives.
Communication is the ability to impart and exchange information through the process of listening, writing and speaking. Successful leaders understand that enhancing communication skills not only makes them more effective as leaders, but boosts the company’s success as well.
5. Performance evaluation
An important aspect of leadership training is determining whether the steps taken towards a goal are working. One of the many roles of a successful leader is to appraise or assess the effectiveness of both individual and collective workplace skills and strategies to achieve stated goals.
“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn
6. Decision making
The term decision making is the process of choosing from several ideas or choices. It’s the practice of targeted determinations that can offer creative problem solving solutions. This is a vital skill in developing potential leaders because it strengthens the use of critical thinking and resourcefulness to make choices on behalf of the company.
How to be a selfless leader in your business organization
Many leaders try to play it safe when leading their business. In other words, they don’t really lead. They are afraid of taking risks and possibly making some people unhappy. It’s important to note that when you own a business, you may make decisions that won’t make everyone happy. Ideally, your culture will be set up so that what you do is transparent and enables people to speak up and share their concerns.
At the same time, people in an organization want their leaders to lead and part of that involves the leader making a passionate commitment to the direction the business needs to go in. When there isn’t clear leadership in a business, then the business is like a ship that is moving in a circle. It’s going nowhere.
A leader must always make it clear that what they are doing is actually serving the best interests of the business as opposed to their own best interests. If people in the organization think that a leader is abusing their position, it can create a toxic situation in the business bringing it down as people leave or sabotage the business.
A leader must be selfless, focused on what will truly benefit the business and the people in it. They must be willing to share the spotlight, instead of taking all the credit and must recognize the value of trusting the talents of the people they work with.
Recently, I was talking with a client of mine. He was having some personnel issues, and I suggested he carefully evaluate the talents of each person involved. After doing that, he made some changes in roles, and the people involved were much happier because they were doing the work that capitalized on their talents.
Throughout this process he was transparent and he made it clear that the changes he was making were for the benefit of the company. Each person involved saw that because the leader was honest and focused on the success of the business. He wasn’t making changes to make it easier for him, but rather making changes that would really help the business succeed. That’s the kind of leadership that is needed when a business undergoes changes or needs to focus on a specific direction.
What does being a selfless leader mean to you? How do you focus on the welfare of your business and show that to the people involved in the business? Share with us below!
Things You Need to Know to Succeed as a Life Coach
Becoming a life coach is one of the biggest choices you will ever make. Your choice in this field will change how you treat your spouse, how you empathize with others, and how you manage your business.
When I decided to make life coaching my goal, I had many steps to take before I reached the finish line and I wasn’t quite sure how to motivate myself to get there. I know that I am not the only one who struggles with staying motivated. That’s why I’m sharing with you the secrets that helped me make my dreams a reality.
Dan Sullivan is the founder of The Strategic Coach, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Dan is often considered to be the number one entrepreneurship coach on the planet. If there is anyone who can motivate you to make your dreams a reality and go for gold – it’s him.
Here are the 2 life-changing ideas I learned about becoming a life coach:
1. Keep Selling Yourself
Don’t sell yourself short – but keep selling yourself on your future. Dan Sullivan suggests that the reason why we, as entrepreneurs, can’t focus on achieving our goals is that we haven’t actually sold ourselves on our project or endeavor. I believe this wholeheartedly. We may have listed our pros and cons, we have an ideal outcome, and we may even have a backup plan – but we haven’t truly committed to our goal.
In order to properly take advantage of an opportunity, we must be focused. There is no doubt that we live in a new age of multi-tasking. We watch videos while we respond to e-mails, we’re glued to our phones when we’re out on dates with our spouses – we even have the option to have two multi-tasking windows open on our smart devices so that we can do different things at the same time.
But studies show multitasking accomplishes less in the long-run. Multitasking reduces both our performance and efficiency. Dan suggests instead of trying to do everything at once, sell yourself on three tasks a day. The next day, sell yourself on three more. This will help you to have more focus and drive on what you are doing. You will accomplish more and feel better about fulfilling your goals.
2. The 3 Wins are Everything
Dan suggests that positive focus is everything when it comes to succeeding in business. That’s why he developed “The 3 Wins” mindset. After the day is done and you’re getting ready for bed, focus on three wins you had. By focusing on the three things you did right, you practice gratitude in your personal life. You set goals, reach them, and then celebrate them – no matter how small! This can help you have a more positive mindset going forward.
Dan Sullivan explains, “I would look at tomorrow… and I’d say, ‘Well these are gonna be my three biggest wins for tomorrow’. So, I would go to bed feeling good about the day, excited about the next day, and I would get up the next morning excited. So, then I would go out that day and try to have to three wins, but often times what happened is that I had wins that were bigger than the three I imagined the night before.”
The feeling of accomplishment is addictive. Not only does it feel great to get work done and accomplish our goals, but it encourages us to keep working hard in life. We work hard to grow our business, to maintain a healthy marriage, and to give our clients our best. By focusing on The 3 Wins, we view each day as a new opportunity to stay motivated and achieve something great.
Along with these life-changing ideas, here are some other great tips for anyone who is thinking of becoming a life coach.
1. Rapport is Essential
When you are becoming a life coach, you learn that your ability to have a rapport with your clients is just as important as the chemistry you felt with your spouse when you first started dating. Are you good at striking up a conversation? Do you have a knack for getting people to trust you or open up about their problems? If so, then you will be a natural at building your entrepreneurial business because your ability to connect with your clients is important.
2. Ask the Important Questions
As a life coach, it’s your job to ask the hard questions. This means that you must be intuitive about your client and really get to know and understand their thoughts and intentions. Only then can you help them reach their life goals.
3. Get Comfortable with Silence
Silence between two people can be the most uncomfortable, awkward, cringe-worthy experience, but as a life coach, it’s your job to let it happen anyway. When there is silence, your client will be eager to fill the void, which often leads them to show vulnerability and really work through their issues.
4. Don’t Take Things Personally
Your clients are not always going to gel with you. This may cause them to leave your services. Don’t take it personally. Alternatively, you may have a great rapport with your client, but that doesn’t always mean that they will take your advice. This can be frustrating for you, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to continue building trust between you and your client.
You can make becoming a life coach a reality. Stay motivated by selling yourself on new ideas and strategies every day. It’s also beneficial to remind yourself of your three wins and always strive to keep growing and getting better. By becoming a life coach, you show people that you care, have an excellent rapport, and aren’t afraid of the hard questions – or the silence!
Consistency Is the Hidden Power to Your Success
It’s often difficult to start a new habit or change an old behavior. There are enough books and courses online that will teach you about planning your day, planning your night, organizing your home, filtering through paperwork, and on and on it goes.
In the midst of a lot of busywork, though, there lies what I believe is a hidden secret to anyone’s success. Getting into detail about this secret, though, calls for a little reflection on your part. Look at the people you admire, whether alive or dead. Reading about their successes and failures teaches powerful lessons for life.
People will talk about “getting into a groove” and how it feels good. Writing, for me, comes a lot better when I am in a groove or in the flow. Words and phrases come quite easily because I’m sitting down to have a written conversation with you. By the way, it also helps to have a lot of experience as a writer in the back pocket too.
The Answer Lies Within The Question
“What’s the secret?” you keep asking. Look at what you are doing in your life today. In business, are you moving forward or stagnant? Connecting with new leads or looking to keep the wolves at bay by taking anything offered? Are you making time to actually do the work while also having some fun?
When you look at the values and practices of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, the one thing that is obvious is that they have developed a level of consistency in their actions. Did it happen overnight after having an awakening experience? Probably not. It was a lot of little things, done over a period of time, and it produced success.
Consistency in business, relationships, friendships, health, wellness, spirituality…you name it. Staying consistent with your actions will lead to results. Here’s a quick caveat: Make sure these consistent habits and behaviors are healthy and nurturing. It does matter in business that you develop a pattern of consistency which reflects a deep level of appreciation for people in your business or on your team.
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne The Rock Johnson
Time and time again, studies have shown how actually being consistent in showing employees appreciation and gratitude can raise the level of work much higher. If you consistently show up as a little tyrant and liar, then you’re going to get burned. If you consistently show up as someone who reflects humility, gratitude and thankfulness for what is going on in your business and life, then you’ll get more of it.
Like attracts like. It’s just that simple. Consistency is one of the most powerful practices and forces that you can add into your business and life.
Here are three specific suggestions that can help you develop a strong core of consistency today:
1. Start out small
Let’s use a restaurant analogy real quick. You walk into a place and you’re hungry. You look at the menu and see a full-course meal that has everything you love in it. Therefore, you order it. The platter comes and you go, “Oh man, that’s a lot of food.” Eat the whole platter in one sitting and you might have a bellyache later on.
If you looked at the platter, took a little bit and ate that, then you’d have some leftovers. You start out small on the meal, not stuff your face with all the food at once. Same concept with consistency. Start out small on what you want to achieve. Just make a little beginning and follow that path.
2. Take your time
What’s the hurry here? Consistency doesn’t pick up right away if you do a total deep dive into it. You have to take your time and go at your own pace. Look, peeking at what Mr. X or Mrs. L is doing will not help you one bit. Patience and persistence are two little powerful motors to help consistency become a part of your life. Even then, though, you have to take your time. Your time, not someone else’s.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins
3. Appreciate the journey
While you are on the road to consistency, there are going to be bumps along the way. Just know that going forward. There are two ways to look at this: get frustrated and angry and simply say “nope, this consistency thing isn’t worth it”; or, just continue on the path and appreciate all the stops along the way. Developing a practice of appreciation and gratitude can also play roles in you trusting that level of consistency to appear in your life.
Consistency does equal success. How you define success might be as simple as getting up in the morning and feeling grateful you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. It might be closing the biggest business deal in your life. It might be looking at your children and knowing they are healthy, well, and happy. It also might be that you survived going through hell in life and made it through just fine.
All it takes is a few consistent actions to change the way you show up in this world. We all need people and examples that remind us about the little secret of consistency. Take your mind off of your phone and out of your laptop sometimes. Look around. You can find these types of success stories all around. They reflect their own results of the power of consistency. Tap into this power today and change your world, along with others too.
4 Ways You Can Develop Indispensable People as a Business Owner
In a world where more artificial intelligence, robots and automation are taking over, good employees are beginning to feel less and less indispensable. However, they don’t need to be because robots and AI cannot replace human common sense and authentic, heartfelt engagement. That being said, more and more employers are looking for good employees who want to become great leaders within the organization and are willing to make the investment.
Here are 4 ways organizations can develop indispensable employees:
1. Invest in training & personal development
Personal development is definitely the responsibility of an employee and their own willingness to improve themselves overall. But when you combine that with an employer who is looking to keep quality talent and who sees the tremendous value in assisting their employees growth, the results are incredible.
Statistics show as one of the top three non-financial motivators, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth. They also show that corporate training has grown to over $70 billion in the United States alone. Companies that do make the investment in their employee’s learning and development tend to lead the way and sustain longevity.
They also become the most sought after places to work for. When you help grow your employees, your employees will help grow your business.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson
2. Empower them with decision-making abilities
You will find that many companies try to create a “think like an owner” mentality throughout their organizations. While this is a great strategy to implement, it cannot be fully accomplished when an employee does not have the appropriate decision making capabilities.
Companies that empower their employees to make the proper decisions (within reason and to a certain extent), become more effective and efficient as a whole. They are able to provide support to both their internal and external customers without having to wait for longer than needed timeframes to get responses.
Empowering employees through training and mentoring is one of the best practices a company can make. The more power an employee has to make certain decisions, the more sense of ownership is displayed and taken, making it a win-win for everyone.
3. Keep them informed and up to date
A wise man once said, “knowledge is power” so if you want your organization to be a powerful force in your industry, your employees need to be informed. Companies that have an effective system in place to keep employees informed and up to date usually have a higher rate of productivity and success.
Most communication within organizations is only shared within their respective departments where the information is pertinent. But imagine how much more would be able to get done if everyone was aware of what was going on company wide (again to a certain extent). That’s why interdepartmental communication is vital and in order for that to happen, employees need to be kept abreast.
For example, have you ever spoken to different people at a company and have gotten different information? That’ because they are not on the same page or haven’t been informed properly.
If an employee knew “generally speaking” about the happenings in other departments, they may be able to assist the customer base more effectively and avoid unnecessary transfers.
A good way to start this practice of being informed would be to share the company’s wins and losses, successes and failures, and any other significant changes the company may have made. When this happens, everyone is made aware and everyone is on the same page.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
4. Develop a true culture of open communication
Honest and open communication is important in the workplace because it affects the ability of everyone being able to work together (as a team). Many employees don’t engage more frequently when asked to because of fear of being ridiculed and even losing their jobs. Why is it that most employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves during normal team meetings but are more reserved in meetings where upper leaders are present?
Could it be that clear lines of open communication have not been established? Studies show that companies who operate in an open forum style atmosphere have higher levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organization and in return you have less turnovers.
Creating a culture of true and honest communication also develops confidence in the upper leadership team amongst employees. When the leaders of an organization displays proper and safe two-way communication, it also helps the employees feel like their making a difference and their opinions matter.
Implementing these tips will not only help you to develop indispensable employees but will also increase engagement and sustainability. It will also help you to develop an indispensable team to help take your organization to the next level.
How does your boss encourage you to become better? If you’re the boss, how do you encourage your employees to be more productive? Share your thoughts below!
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