You know it happens to you! You can’t seem to fight it? You want to do something … but it is summer! Ah the summer procrastination bug has invaded your home and your office! What can you do about it? Here are some simple strategies you can apply immediately to be more productive in the summer … and enjoy the fabulous weather too!
Accept you are procrastinating – don’t beat yourself up. Don’t waste energy with negative self-talk. Say this statement out loud “I am procrastinating and I choose to be productive” – this will remind you to change your attitude about procrastination. It doesn’t sound as scary when you say it out loud!
Identify activities where you procrastinate– if there is an activity you don’t enjoy i.e. writing proposals, doing laundry or completing staff performance reviews, remind yourself that you know you have procrastinated in the past when this activity occurs however this time you will choose to be productive. Knowing where you procrastinate is half the battle.
Get a ‘Procrastination Pal’ – have someone you can call if you are procrastinating that will help you get on track. Let them know they are your designated ‘Procrastination Pal’ and when you call them they need to help you get focused and give you a kick in the pants to get moving!
Change your location – if you are at a desk, go for a walk around the office or make a coffee or get some fresh air. If you are at home in the kitchen, get outside for a quick walk around the garden or the neighborhood. Change your location for a few minutes and it may be the kick-start you need.
Make a “to do” list – this may motivate you if you like to check items off your to do list. It will also help you detail activities and help you appreciate what needs to be completed. Sometimes just creating a to-do list gives you momentum and helps you realize the task isn’t as big (or as bad) as you originally thought.
Create a procrastination area – keep a file or basket with tasks or activities that are not urgent but you want to get them completed i.e. articles you want to read or letters you want to write. Open the file or peek in the basket, find an item or activity and use your time productively. Tell yourself you will complete the activity you have chosen and then you will finish the task you are procrastinating with. I call this my 15 minute basket – each task in there I will work on for 15 minutes!
Invest 15 minutes – that’s all – that is the real secret to procrastination. 15 dedicated minutes for the task or activity will surprise you, you will be able to create the to-do list, or write some notes or just do something – do something for 15 minutes – it works I promise!
Set a timeframe to complete the task – you may choose to set an alarm clock on your phone (or your oven timer) so you know when you can finish! Allow yourself a designated amount of time (I suggest 15 minutes) and that may help you be motivated to complete the activity within that timeframe.
Stick to your calendar or “to do” list – when you are finding it really difficult to complete activities, promise yourself you will stick to your calendar appointment, even when you don’t want to… force yourself to remain on track.
Spend time ‘debriefing’ activities you procrastinate. Find out why you didn’t want to do it or why you were distracted. Make a note to be aware of this next time the activity occurs.
Reward yourself – if it is a task you don’t enjoy, make a point of rewarding yourself you have done it – give yourself an incentive e.g. once the vacuuming is complete you will sit down with a coffee and a magazine or once the proposal is done you will head outside to enjoy the sunshine and some delicious lunch? What do you find rewarding?
You can beat summer procrastination and start achieving great productivity when you try these strategies.