We’re a few weeks into the new year and you still haven’t made a dent in those resolutions? Seems like you’re a pro at putting things off, and tackling that problem head-on should be priority #1. Here are some strategies for finally making a habit of crossing those to-dos off your list.
We all put things off sometimes: that report we’re dreading because writing it’s so tedious; calling relatives to touch base; shopping for birthday gifts. But there comes a point when procrastination itself becomes the issue. Consider, for example, the stress it causes you — those undone tasks weighing you down so much they keep you up at nights. Or when your tardiness on a project at work impacts the rest of your team’s performance. Enough, already — it’s time to end your procrastinatin habit once and for all. These strategies will help get you on the straight and narrow.
Buy a calendar app or a daybook and use it
It’s too easy to let things run amok without a set schedule and deadlines. Take the time to lay out your tasks and create reasonable, visible deadlines for each of your various errands and projects. Then, stick to them. Refer to your calendar regularly to ensure you are on track.
Break big projects into smaller tasks
When you consider a mammoth task — say, renovating your bathroom — the whole idea may be too overwhelming. It seems easier to just do nothing. So, take the time to lay out the project in discrete steps, each one easier to wrap your head around. For example, with the bathroom reno, think of it as: 1) choosing materials; 2) budgeting; 3) demolition day; 4) rebuilding day; 5) tiling day; painting day, etc., and create a reasonable time frame for each task. Before you know it, you’ll have a shiny new bathroom.
Don’t overdo it
You may be tempted to schedule in as much as possible to get it done as quickly as possible. But overextending yourself will only lead to burn-out, and you’ll never complete your project. Build in breaks that give you enough time to take a breather… but not for too long, or you may lose motivation.
Find someone who’ll hold you accountable
It can be a friend, coworker or partner — anyone who can help by checking in with you every so often to make sure you are on track. Or, if you have a friend who is seeking to accomplish the same goal as you — say, to hit the gym three days a week — you can pair up and hold each other accountable. A wager with a reward may prove to be a good way to keep things exciting for both of you, too.