We are all guilty of procrastination. We get those amazing insights and ideas to do something but somehow we never get to it. We might blame the lack of time for the missed opportunity or our cynical friends, they are always putting us down. But the truth is we are procrastinating.
How to spot the difference ?
If you are still confused as to how we can make the difference between procrastination and discipline, I believe this simple distinction might help : Discipline says do it now while Procrastination says do it later. Now I can hear some of you shouting “I can’t do everything right now … I have to postpone it later”. Well to be honest with you, discipline is not the easiest option. It might sound kind a harsh to say this, but it’s the truth. If you want to do something, nothing must be in the way of doing it, not even your feelings. That’s discipline in it’s simplest form.
Step 1 : Break it down
Most people when they look at their dreams and big goals feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of the task. That’s because they are looking at the whole. All human beings experience this. It’s like climbing a mountain, if you focus too much on how steep and far the top is, then you won’t make the first step.
The only way to fix this is by breaking it down to small steps. If your goal calls for a massive plan of action then break it down to small plans and then break them down again until you look at one of the steps and say “I CAN DO THIS , IT’S EASY”. We tend to procrastinate, not because we are lazy, but because of fear. The task should be smaller than you so can manage it. Add up these small steps and you are on your way to the big HIT.
Step 2 : Write it down
After that you have broken down the big goal into small pieces you can manage, now comes the most important step : writing all down. There is some magic in writing your goals, it’s the only way you can be accountable by yourself and see to it that you get the job done, no matter what. It’s also critical for your time management because now you can easily separate the majors from the minors. The question should not be “are you busy ?” but rather “busy doing what ?”.
In this step make sure to include a set of deadlines for those small goals. You can’t really push yourself without a deadline. However, I have to point something out , you won’t be able to meet all the deadlines (especially when you are just starting). When you miss a deadline make sure to review what happened and see if there is something to correct in your behaviors or skills.
Step 3 : Self Study
In this step you must carefully examine your progress and see if you are on track or off track. It’s easy to lose track and never get to know whether we are improving or not. The way to do this is by constant review. Check your list of goals and see if you can change some priorities. We can learn more about ourselves by keeping a record of our actions ( assuming you have journal).That’s what we call self study. How to become more effective in action and thought. You won’t believe the kind of progress you will make with this one.
To give you a clue about this : the majority of people don’t study themselves , in fact they spend a lot of time studying others (celebrities, politicians, lovers …). Don’t let that be you. Study to learn and you will be on your way to a productive and happy life.
To wrap it up, turning procrastination into productivity is not easy but it is simple, if you follow these steps (they are part of the fundamentals of success, I didn’t invent them).