To be successful takes a great deal of effort and willpower. To fail is the easiest thing to do: do nothing! Here are a few tips to get you to do it:
1. Organise emails:
Process information as quickly as possible and turn it into actions. Start by organising your emails into various file folders. If the message needs to be actioned, move it to a 'To-do' file. If it is for reference, print it out immediately, file it and delete the email. If it is a meeting, move it to your calendar. Take the To-do emails and plan to action them in your diary. Let your diary tell you when to action the email.
2. Plan when to read emails:
Plan in your diary when to check on emails. The human mind is an inquisitive mind. As soon as an email arrives, we are tempted to read it. Not only does this distract us from what we are working on, it also wastes unnecessary time responding to something that may not be important. When someone emails you, they are not necessarily expecting an immediate response, rather a proficient response. If they require an urgent response they won't have any difficulty in reaching you by any other means.
3. The Important task rule:
Plan in your diary what the Important tasks are and deal with them first. An Important task is not always urgent. If you focus on Urgent tasks only, your life becomes stressed and your function takes on the role of 'putting out fires' and losing focus on what is really happening around you.
4. One task at a time:
It is one thing to be able to multi-task, but can you focus effectively on all these tasks at the same time? Productivity may decrease and quality affected. The saying is true, "You can only sit on one seat at a time".
5. Set deadlines:
When you have one particular task that you must accomplish, don't leave it hanging. Give yourself a firm deadline that you must adhere to. When you waste time at the beginning, you will increase your stress levels as the deadline approaches.
6. Do it now:
When it comes to the little things, take on the "do it now" attitude. All those little things can add up to major stress if you continue to procrastinate. This just means that if you receive a bill in the post, go online and pay it. If you find something out of place around the house, put it away. Stop allowing yourself to save additional tasks for later.
7. Break up tasks:
All of us at times procrastinate due to the task being too large and in our minds insurmountable. For example, packing up boxes when we move home. There may be numerous boxes to pack and just the thought of it is daunting. Tell yourself that you're going to pack one or two boxes per day and before you know it, the whole house is packed up and ready to be transported.
8. Make it easy to get started:
The problem is not finishing tasks, so often we have a problem starting them. Never dive into a task with all that enthusiasm without first knowing where and how you are going to start. Visualise how the completed task will look, then start by breaking it down into manageable chunks. Plan which chunk you will complete first and by when, and then only move onto the next chunk.
9. Get someone to hold you accountable:
It is easy to feel alone when snowed under by many tasks, but when it comes to overcoming procrastination there are probably many people that would want to offer you their assistance. When you have a particular task that you need to accomplish, ask this person to check up on you at certain intervals. This will assist to help you to hold yourself accountable and become a master at overcoming procrastination.
10. Give yourself a reward:
Give yourself a small reward after you complete a specific task or milestone. If you know a coffee break is waiting for you when you are finished doing something tedious, you will be inspired to get it done.