Wake up call!!! I’ve been putting off writing this article for a week and ironically it’s about the number one killer of momentum – procrastination. It’s something that affects everyone in different ways, but the results are always the same – nothing! That’s right, nothing!
Let me ask you this, how many ideas have you had to improve your business or your life? No doubt you’ve solved the problems of the world in your head and to be honest, ideas have become a bit of a commodity. The real question is how many of the ideas you’ve had, have you actually done something about? The answer will typically be quite different. Now, rather than dissect the reasons why people procrastinate so that you can ponder whether you agree or not, I wanted to give my favourite approach to snapping out of inaction and getting into building massive unstoppable momentum.
- Have a compelling reason – without a doubt, when I’m putting something off that I know I really need to do, I refer back to my purpose and it instantly gets me back on track. Why? Because I have a purpose that is absolutely crystal clear for me that inspires me and taps into my passion. If it supports my purpose, it’s worth doing, so I remind myself and then get on with it.
- Have a vision of what it will be like when you’re done – visualising the end result or the satisfaction of getting something done combined with a compelling reason for doing it in the first place is a powerful motivator. The opposite is also true. Without a vision for doing something, what’s the point, right?
- Have a plan for your activity and keep in simple – I use a 3 x 3 x 3 approach to keep me focused. I keep things down to 3′s because I can recall them more easily, and I can manage them more effectively. If you’re interested, there is some explanation about the power of 3′s, but it’s an activity for later!
- Make commitments that are difficult to back out of – especially commitments to others and dates. I have found that when I make a commitment to someone else or make a date to deliver something or meet with someone I get things done. The last thing I want to do is let someone else down or embarrass myself because I couldn’t be bothered. It doesn’t send a very positive message and goes against my values.
- Have a support team around you to keep you focused and accountable – use the people closest to you and around you to stay focused and accountable. Many clients use me to help them with that. You have a network around you right now that you could make a commitment to or ask to check in on your progress with something you need to complete. Just ask them. You’ll be surprised at the support you can rally when you commit yourself.
- Have a reward at the end when the job is complete – in other words have a pay off that is worth working for. There needs to be some level of reward for doing the hard work so reward yourself! At the end of the day, you’re doing it for you, and if you’re not, you need to revisit your purpose. Someone once said to me that if you don’t have a plan for yourself or a use for your time, somebody else will. I would rather control plans than have someone else control them.
- Have milestones and measures in place so that you can gauge your progress – some things take time and can take a number of steps before you get to the end. The key is to stay focused on the next target, the next stage, the next milestone to keep yourself motivated. As you reach each point, revisit your next 3 action steps and focus on them to get you to the next milestone. It’s pretty simple really.
- Start NOW!!! Pick the first result producing activity that will get you moving and do it straightaway!
8.5 is this – Record your path so that you can follow it again or make improvements. Contrary to what you might think is causing your procrastination, it’s a habit that has been well formed and integrated. You need to break it and replace it with a new habit based on action steps and paths that get you to the result you want. The best way to learn the paths that work for you is to record them, review them, and repeat them or replace them! Eventually you’ll develop new habits to get you into action and you’ll start to achieve more of the results you want.
Don’t waste time on whether you agree with me or not. This is a favourite task avoidance strategy for procrastinating professionals. Go and do something and build massive momentum!