This article was originally published in The Review by Sara Wade
Believe it or not, successful people procrastinate. Success isn’t about always avoiding procrastination, but about picking your battles. Among the thousands of reasons to procrastinate, here are three common situations where you can avoid procrastinating.
Reason 1: Someone asked me to do a last minute meeting or brief so I need to prepare for that instead
By scheduling their week in advance, successful people know exactly what they need to get done and what the highest priority is. Darren Rowes, the founder of Problogger, said, “The thing that has helped me the most (with procrastination) is designing my ideal weekly schedule. … I asked myself what activities I need to do each week to get to my goals done, and designed a weekly schedule around that… I also know that these activities are directly related to achieving my goals and so have more motivation to get things done.”
Once you know what you need to get done during the week, you know what you can and can’t do in order to reach your goals. This way, if someone asks you to go to a meeting or conduct a brief, you can be sure it fits into your schedule and you can still reach these goals before accepting to do it.
Author and productivity podcaster Erik Fisher said, “The best way to avoid procrastination is to have a default answer of ‘No’ ready for all new tasks. Only letting the tasks into your system that you know you want to do or absolutely have to do is the first step to making sure you don’t put them off.”
Reason 2: I just don’t have the motivation
One thing that is rare to find with a successful person accomplishing their goals is a lack of motivation. Stephen Covey said, “to always keep the end in mind.” Taking steps like goal setting and making sure you are doing things that help you reach that goal will help keep motivation in your daily tasks.
Todd Henry, founder of Accidental Creative, said “My biggest method (to combat procrastination) is to end with the beginning in mind. Whenever I’m working on a long-arc project, I always end every work session knowing where I’ll pick up the next day. I don’t procrastinate because I want to avoid the work, I often do it because I’m uncertain of the right next step. This tactic keeps me from getting stuck.”
Reason 3: It’s not that I don’t have the motivation, I just hate doing it
There are things that we must do that we may not want to, like taxes, but if we minimize things that we don’t want to do, and focus on more work that we are passionate about, then we are less likely to procrastinate. When asked how he combats procrastination, Evan Carmichael, Entrepreneur and Founder of Evancarmichael.com, said, “Have goals and do work that you are passionate about.”
Mark Shead, founder of Productivity501, said, “My number one method for avoiding procrastination is … just don’t do it. Sound crazy? My point is that you may have hundreds of things you could be doing and some of those things inspire procrastination. So take a moment and ask yourself what would happen if you just didn’t do some of those things.”
Procrastination is inevitable, but you don’t have to make a habit of it. In the spirit of avoiding procrastination, here is my promise to my editor that I will not procrastinate writing my articles. Instead, I will draft them in advance.
If there is a success topic you would like covered in this column please tweet it to me and your topic may be an upcoming article. @sarawade13