Everyone is guilty of procrastinating. Don’t let it impede your life and your goals. This book will provide daily tips on how to overcome it. Habits can be good or die and they define us. Every habit is formed in the same manner and through repetition. When something conflicts with your habits, you tend to procrastinate. Do not fight it. Rather, replace it with good routines in your life. Make it a habit. Understand why you are procrastinating.
Seven Excuses you might have for procrastinating. 1) It doesn’t matter. Learn to make hard decisions in your life. 2) I need to do ______ first. Break the project down into a series of small steps. 3) I need more information to get started. 4) I feel overwhelmed and have too much to do. Focus on the important tasks first. 5) I don’t have time right now. 6) I keep forgetting to do it. 7) I don’t feel like doing it. Most problems are bullshit. This book will discuss anti-procrastination habits.
APH 1: Use the 80/20 rule to make decisions. 80% of results must come from 20% of effort. Focus on actions that have a big result. Ignore the rest. Write down your tasks on a piece of paper. Do it for work and your personal life. Never let others’ priorities be your own. Convince your boss on the activities that will add more value. Focus on the important activities and pass the unimportant ones to someone else. Don’t add new tasks, instead, substitute non-valuing adding ones.
APH 2: Relate every action to a SMART goal. Relate every task to a goal. It should fit in to your long term plans. Create a framework like SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. Who, what, where, when, which, why. The goal has to be challenging as well. There are two type of goals: 1) performance goals; 2) Outcome goal. Performance goals are better as they focus more on the process.
APH 3: Capture your ideas. The Zeigarnick effect: an incomplete task will occupy your mind until you do it or devise a plan to do it. The key is to always write down your thoughts. Once you write it down, it will not haunt your mind. Evernote is a create tool that can be used too.
APH 4: Create a 43 folder system. 12 folders for each month, 31 folders for each month. You will write down the tasks that need to be done and review them. Use a weekly review system to run through them.
APH 5: Create Project Lists. The task needs to be clearly defined!. Break down huge tasks into manageable portions. Use a separate sheet for each project.
APH 6: Create checklists for everything. For regular tasks, it makes sense to use a checklist. Create a systematic checklist for routine tasks. Creating a checklist will leave out the guesswork and leave no room for ambiguity.
APH 7: Batch Similar Routine Tasks. Use the simple tasks together each day. Create small wins so that you will be motivated during the day to write.
APH 8: Single-handle Processes and Tasks. Only read something when you are ready to take action on them. Finish one task before starting another.
When we get overwhelmed, we often use multitasking to get back on track. It often causes more problems than it solves. Usually when you split your attention, you’re giving half the effort and producing half the results. The solution is to develop ‘single-handling’ activities. – S.J. Scott
APH 9: Schedule a Weekly Review. When you are reviewing the next week, ask 3 questions: 1) What are my personal obligations? 2) What are my priority projects? 3) How much time do I have? Track your time taken for different tasks. Schedule Project Tasks. Process Captured Ideas. See whether the idea is actionable. If it is, just do it now, no need to plan.
APH 10: Do a Monthly Review. Review your SMART goals. Identify potential new projects. Create project lists. Ask 80/20 questions.
APH 11: Say ‘No’ to Low Priority Activities. Identify the mandatory tasks. Do not say ‘no’ to them. If someone doesn’t match your outcomes or goals, say ‘no’. Honesty is the best policy.
APH 12: Track your progress and successes. Without progress, you will eventually lose motivation. Tracking provides motivation to do something. Learn from previous experiences.
APH 13: Start Your Day with MITs. Do those most important tasks first thing in the morning.
APH 14: Prioritize using the ABCDE method. Make time to do something, not find time. ‘A’ tasks are mandatory; ‘B’ tasks are important; ‘C’ tasks are nice to do; ‘D’ tasks can be delegated; ‘E’ tasks shall be eliminated.
APH 15: Create a Sense of Urgency. Parkinson’s Law: The time it takes to complete a task directly correlates to how much time you give it. Set yourself tight deadlines. Use time-blocking techniques. During a block of time, only do that task and do nothing else. Pomodoro technique – work on a task for 25 minutes, break for 5 minutes.
APH 16: Become Publicly Accountable. The Hawthorne Effect: It has been proven that people are more likely to complete a task if they feel like their actions are being observed by others. Being accountable means you can receive feedback from others.
APH 17: Start exceedingly small. Often, we don’t start a goal because it might seem insurmountable. If you haven’t run for a long time, start off with a short distance. But repeat it daily and slowly increase the distance.
APH 18: Reward Yourself. Punishment is not an effective long-term motivation strategy. Rather, rewards are more lasting. Reading can be used as a reward for a long day of work.
APH 19: Develop Project-Based Skills. You can consider delegating something you don’t know how to do. Or you educate yourself on how to do it. 1) Identify the Specific Skill; 2) Focus on one Skill; 3) Get an education; 4) Create a step-by-step plan; 5) Synthesize your notes; 6) Take daily action.
APH 20: Get Secondhand Motivation. Listen to motivational talks or speaker during the day. Examples are TED talks and podcasts. Download the Stitcher Radio app.
APH 21: Practice Visualisation Techniques
APH 22: Be Patient with the Process. Results don’t appear overnight. Make small improvements each time. Build and celebrate small wins.
APH 23: Take the 30 day challenge. It takes about 21 days for a new habit to be formed.