Do you find yourself always putting things off? Is it often the same things? Presentations for a perspective clients. Sales calls? Uploading expenses to the accounting system? Taking up a new hobby? We all have things we need to do, have every intention of doing, but we never seem to get done
Why We Always Put Things Off
There’re all sorts of reasons why we are always putting things off. We don’t think we are very good at it. It’s likely to put us in a position we’re not very comfortable with. It’s simply an unpleasant, boring chore. We just can’t seem to getting going, even though it’s something we really want to do
How often do we find ourselves about to start on thing we’ve been putting off, only to be distracted into doing something else?
The Key To Getting on With It
Create the habit. If we are in the habit of doing something, we generally don’t think too much about it. Instead, we just get on with it, regardless of our ability, how comfortable the situation is, our interest in the activity, or if it’s new to us. Creating a habit can be a bit more difficult than telling ourselves to ‘just get on with it’
How to Create the Habit
How to create the habit depends on what’s holding us back
- Not very good at it; first, break it down. A series of small tasks is much easier to tackle than one big one. Start with the bits you find the easiest to build momentum
- Leads to an uncomfortable situation: concentrate on the outcome. For example, don’t think about persuading others. Instead, focus on how you’ll feel once the sale is agreed
- A boring chore: We all have things we have to do that don’t interest us. Don’t make it worse by letting it build up into a huge task. Little and often is the way to succeed
- Something new: take a leaf out of Shawn Achor’s book ‘The Happiness Advantage‘. Putting his guitar close to his chair and taking the batteries out of his television remote meant he stopped watching TV and embarked on a new hobby
Regardless of what’s holding us back, there are two things that really help us when we’re putting things off
- Being organised: have everything you need available before you start. Either by keeping it all in one, easily accessible, place or preparing it the day before. You are more likely to find excuses if you have to go hunting for what you need
- No distractions: find time when you’re likely to left alone, keep your workspace tidy, switch off those pesky notifications. It’s amazing just how interesting Bob from accounts, your stapler, the latest news alert becomes when you’re putting things off
Create Habits to Stop Always Putting Things Off
If you are always putting things off, turn the things you are putting off into habits. Creating a habit is much easier when the task is broken down into small pieces, when you focus on the outcome; not the process, things haven’t been left to build up, what is needed is close to hand. And if excuses can’t get in the way; be organised and avoid distractions
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