Procrastination is the thief of time and anyone who has suffered with chronic procrastination due to fear knows that it’s also the killer of dreams.
There are several tips and techniques our there to stop procrastinating. It’s such an epidemic that entire books and courses are created on overcoming procrastination alone.
But who better to give you advice on stopping procrastination than personal development legend Jim Rohn.
In his book Leading An Inspired Life (which I highly recommend) he shares two simple techniques to stop procrastinating.
What I like about all of Jim Rohn’s advice and strategies is the simplicity of them. You can get some more great life lessons from him by reading this Jim Rohn quotes.
So the 2 techniques…
1. Break It Down
Jim Rohn says that procrastination usually takes two forms. Either you have trouble starting or you have trouble finishing.
This is usually down to fear and having a negative vision of the future in which you see yourself failing, being criticised, laughed at, punished or whatever it is for you.
A simple way to overcome that is to break down the task into small manageable tasks that you can accomplish easily.
“Focus on accomplishing what’s right in front of you at this moment. Ignore what’s off in the distance someplace. Substitute real-time positive thinking for negative future visualization.” – Jim Rohn
For example, the task of writing a book would be intimidating for most.
What about just filling up a page each day for an entire year? More manageable? Perhaps.
What about if you forget about writing one page each day for a year, for a month or even for a week and just focus on writing one page today, looking no further than that. Most people could probably see that would be easy enough.
The next day their only task would be to focus on writing one page again, not looking back, not looking forward, just taking one day at a time.
If that seems difficult you can take it to further extremes says Jim Rohn and focus on just writing 3 sentences in the next hour for example.
The trick to this is to come up with a way of looking at the task that seems manageable.
When you break the task down and make it small enough in time and effort the fear that would usually make you procrastinate won’t kick it.
2. Write it Down
The second technique Jim Rohn gives is to keep a time diary for at least a week.
Any small pocket notepad will do.
You’ll be recording all the activities you do in the day. Simply write down the activity, when you started and when you finished.
You shouldn’t go longer than 30 minutes without quickly jotting something down, whether its popping out to the grocery store, having a coffee break, spending time on Facebook or whatever. Record everything for at least one week.
What this exercise will do is highlight exactly how you actually spent your day and expose all the distractions, detours and time wasting activities that occurred.
Hardly something groundbreaking you must be thinking, right?
But Jim Rohn says:
“You will naturally and effortlessly begin to reorganize your life. Perhaps that seems like too much to believe, but it’s true. When you’re forced to write down the fact that you hung out at the coffee machine for fifteen minutes today, you’ll think twice about doing that again tomorrow. When you’ve got to put in it writing that you worked on an important project for thirty minutes today and then took a break to read the newspaper, you’ll persevere a little longer on the project tomorrow and forget about the newspaper.”
As straightforward as these techniques are don’t let the simplicity of them fool you. They are very powerful if you apply them.
Start using them today, stop procrastinating, start taking action and let me know of your procrastination experience in the comments below.