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3 Brain Dead Simple Steps to Stop Procrastinating

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/10/2015 Jeff Steinmann

Everybody has that friend. That guy or gal who never keeps a commitment. You ask them to do something, maybe they offer to help you with something, come out for a drink or send you an email with some information. They NEVER do it.
We humans are pretty smart. We quickly learn that this person cannot be relied on. It doesn't take long until you completely quit relying on this person for anything. You may even chuckle to yourself when they make a commitment because you know they are never going to do what they said they are going to do. You quickly lose all trust. You no longer have any expectations.
The same thing can happen with yourself. When you constantly procrastinate, or put off doing the little things (and the big things) you know you must do to become successful, you lose trust in yourself.
When it comes time to do something, you say to yourself, "Meh, I'll do that first thing tomorrow."
Tomorrow comes and you say, "Maybe I'll get to that next week."
Next week you don't do it. You quit even recognizing that you're failing yourself. You become a habitual procrastinator. Just like with that friend, you lose all trust in yourself. You no longer believe that you will get anything done. You no longer trust yourself. You lose hope that you are going to achieve your dreams.
That sucks.
When it's somebody else, you can't control their actions. But you have complete control of yourself. Here are three simple steps to stop procrastinating so you can trust yourself again and become the person you want to be and achieve everything that is important to you.
1. Make a list
This is pretty simple, but critical. If you don't have a clear list of the things you need to do, you won't even know what you're procrastinating. Use any of the billions of apps (it doesn't matter which one, they all get the job done), a sheet of paper or an ink pen on your arm (or your leg if you have a really long list). Use a simple method to get that list down.
Don't think too much about the logistics, just do it. Don't spend hours researching the "best productivity app." Spending hours researching apps is another form of procrastination. Then you'd be procrastinating stopping procrastinating and that's really bad. Pick a method as quickly as you can and put down everything you need to do.
You're tracking system only needs three elements:

  • A brief description of the task
  • The date by which it needs to be done
  • A way to "check it off" when it's complete
2. Do the things on the list
This seems pretty obvious -- and it is. Just get the things done. Don't worry about this or that. Don't try to make everything perfect. Just get the things done. There's no big secret to be revealed here. You just have to get the things done.
Life is going to get in the way. It always does. If something comes up that needs your attention, maybe a kid emergency, a work emergency or some leaky plumbing, you'll have to move away from your to-do list and address it. That's OK. It's perfectly fine to address the real issues that we all face in life that need to be placed ahead of the items on your list.
Don't ignore the list and don't get frustrated. Take a look at the list and move the date to the next day, the next week or whenever you can fit it in. Be totally OK with the fact that something happened and you addressed the issue according to your priorities in life. Then just reschedule your tasks. It's not a bad thing, it's part of living life as a human being on planet earth. Things come up, you address them, and then you get back to your list.
3. Recognize your accomplishments
At the end of the day, look at all the items you crossed off your list. Look at your list and celebrate how much you got done. Look at the list and know that you were a productive person; not a procrastinator.
If you had "life stuff" come up, recognize that too. Be glad that you addressed the circumstances of life according to your values. If you had a sick kid, you took care of her and that was the right priority.
The most important thing is to go to bed feeling like a person who gets stuff done. Go to bed every day knowing that you had a good, productive day and you will very quickly stop feeling like a procrastinator and you'll be more confident. You'll regain trust in yourself, which is critical for success in business and life.
You can stop procrastinating. Just decide today that you are no longer a procrastinator and follow these three simple steps to become a productive person who gets stuff done every day.
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