I am great at procrastinating. If there is a deadline and I can cut things close. I do. I’m not proud of that either. So many things would have turned out better if I had taken more time to do them… like this article, for instance. So here are a couple of tips I should read before I write my next article.
Set your own due date
I often try to trick my brain with a separate due date. The official paper is due on the 15th, make everything in your notes say the 13th. Write it on your calendar that way. Make reminders based on that day. This can be tricky, but if you can do it effectively, it gives you a gap to do that extra proofreading or run-through with time to spare.
Tell a friend about the deadline. Ask them to check in with you. Be sure to choose a friend carefully. You want someone who isn’t afraid to inundate you with reminders and also who won’t forget about the deadline completely. You also want to set your expectations clearly from the beginning. Do you need a reminder daily? Weekly? Do you need quick reminders or a phone call?
In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about stacking habits. If you already do something daily, add another habit on top of that so you can do both daily. I use the same approach to fight procrastination. What am I going to do anyway today? Don’t do it until I finish a set goal with the project that needs to be completed. Right now, I really want to make dinner, but I have to get this written and published before I eat. That’s really motivating.
When I am on my game, this is my go-to. Let’s say I’m having an ideal day. I start it by writing what my goals for the year are, then my month, then my week. Now I determine what I need to do today to meet those goals. I set out time from my day when I can accomplish those tasks and then fill in the other things that I know will come up. This is not easy, and I definitely don’t do it daily, but when I love it when it works out, and I have … no … when I make the time to get this done.
Okay. Now stop procrastinating and get something done. Yes, right now. (I’m going to make dinner… because I finished this article.)