- from a Master of the Art of Procrastinating -
Do tasks pile up on your lists or on your mind, and days, weeks and months fly by without you having completed that project, written that book, taken that trip or made that phone call?. You are a procrastinator, and you know it. Trying to not be one hasn't really worked, so other than criticizing yourself to death, what can you do that helps you get things done? Here are five keys:
Key #1: Deadlines
There was a joke going around during my university years: 'A group of researchers are interviewing a student, and they ask her: 'How long would it take you to learn Japanese?' The student shrugs and says: 'I don't know, maybe two or three days, depending on when the exam is.'
Writers finish their books much easier when they sign a contract in advance and must produce a book by a certain date. Having a deadline is an unbeatable motivator.
Key #2: Structure
Having an assigned time and space for your practice or task will ensure that you stick to it, and do it. I have a permanent yoga mat on my living room floor, and yet, I practice more hours in a class with a yoga instructor. Sign up and pay, and you're likely to do it. Many talented artists and creative people procrastinate; structure is for them what containers are for water.
Key #3: Accountability
When somebody expects you to do something, you're more likely to do it. Tell a friend or a coach what you intend to do and by when you intend to do it, and agree on a way to check in about your progress.
Key #4: Buddy-in-action
Procrastinating exercise? Get an exercise buddy. Two people are more likely to motivate each other than one person is in motivating himself. Chances are that at any given time, at least one of you will be motivated enough to get the other along.
Key #5: Stick and Carrot:
Facing a project that you're reluctant to do, but it's important for you to do it? Choose an even less agreeable activity to do as punishment for failure, and a special rewards for when you've completed your project.
Even the laziest or people can get things done with a bit of smart strategy and a little help from your friends.