I used to be the biggest procrastinator. I had great intentions, but not much follow-through. I never wanted to do it. My to do list created a struggle. But, working from home I need to get myself to do my work.
Here are some ideas on what worked to get me unstuck so I could get stuff done.
Get Clear on What You Want to Do
Most of us feel we have too much to do to spend time planning. Not to mention, people (ok, me) can get carried away with the planning and not do much. Fancy planners or bullet journals. Intricate to-do systems. Detailed project plans that fall apart as soon as the project changes.
But, if you don’t do any planning, it’s hard to know what to do and what has higher priority.
Spend a five minutes thinking and jotting what you need to do down in a notebook. Then pick the next three items to work on.
If you are still scattered, organize your desk or workspace for some space around you and in your head.
Feel How It Will Feel When Done
We tend to think about all the work and reasons why we don’t want to do something when the energy is at the end. How will you feel when you have accomplished it? Got it off your plate? Made progress?
If you are coming up with some major resistance, don’t run away to Instagram – figure out the feelings. Are you afraid of something? Are you putting a lot of self-pressure on yourself? Are you not feeling confident?
When you figure out the resistance you can work with it. Reminding yourself they are thoughts, not truth. Making the task easier. Creating a reward. Upping the self-talk. Watching a quick motivation video.
Start the Day with Projects
It’s easy to get right into email or social media in the morning. But, for me, I have the most energy in the morning. I want to make progress on the harder, more meaningful projects within the first work hour.
Willpower wanes throughout the day making it harder to push yourself to get things done. Maybe schedule meetings, routine tasks and communications during the afternoon.
Don’t forget to break those projects down into 15-30 minute segments so you don’t have a mammoth task on your to do list. What are the next two actions of your projects? Can you plan one early tomorrow?
Some days your to do list is full of bits and pieces. Smaller tasks. But, they are so numerous. How do you choose?
Get random. Either making a numbered list and using https://www.random.org/ to choose your next thing. Or write them on pieces of paper and pick a task out of a jar.
If you can get moving on something – anything – you will feel less overwhelmed.
On the weekend sometimes I will do 3 tasks per line – 1 work, 1 home and 1 personal so I know I am somewhat balanced.
Breaks and Focus
For me it’s helpful if I know I don’t have to do something forever. I like the tomato-timer where I can work 25 minutes then have a 5-minute break. I don’t let myself play on Facebook, check email or get lost online until break time. Most of us have limits to our focus.
Focus on the task and notice when your mind wanders so you can bring it back. We get work done faster if we focus on now and not what you may need to do in the future or a past drama. You may want to set a timer for shorter than 25 minutes if you are having trouble staying on task. When it dings you can check to see if you were on task.
Sometimes I’ll get in the flow and go over my 25 minutes. But, the timer was good to get me started. Other days 25 min seems like a long time. If I know I have a break coming up I am less likely to get distracted.[Resource: Short Work Breaks]
During breaks I also like to dance a bit, take some deep breaths or do some stretching to get the blood moving again – hopefully to the brain.
When I was a stay-at-home mom I did almost daily challenges with online friends to keep up with the house. Now I have a weekly accountability session with Marcia for both business and house goals.
I do accountability with some of my clients, either as an email accountability partner or in our coaching sessions. I also host every-once-in-awhile Get it Done Days reminiscent of my old challenge days. (The next one is July 8th.) No one likes to admit they get more done with a group or accountability. But human nature being what it is, most of us get much more done.
Notice When You Did It
Too often we move from one task to another on the little hamster wheel. No wonder we seem to think we are always behind. Pause, notice what was completed, and give yourself a little pat on the back (or get it from someone else if you are doing a challenge). Then you can move on. Sometimes taking 3-6 breaths between tasks can help you pause.
What is your trick for getting stuff done when you don’t want to? Any of the above ideas you are willing to try?