If you’re the type of person who waits around for a “feeling” to get stuff done, there’s a good chance you’re not incredibly successful at anything in life.
Here’s why – there is no such thing as a feeling or the perfect time to finish a presentation for work, clean the house, or write that book you’ve been putting off since college. You need to nut up and get cracking or you’ll never get ahead in life.
But even though there’s no perfect mood or state-of-mind to combat chronic procrastination, there are some tricks to getting your mind right.
The Harvard Business Review offers three simple brain hacks to get more stuff done.
First, remind yourself of the reason why completing the task is essential.
Deep down, you know the reasons why you need to finish work or reorganize a garage or tackle any massive project. Each project has a goal, one that will make your life better in a specific way.
To crack chronic procrastination in the face, tell yourself bluntly how life will be better once the job is done.
HBR suggests making a statement like:
“I don’t want to do _______. But if I do ________, then I will see a significant financial payoff both now and in the future and will feel good about my choices” or “I don’t want to do _______. But if I make progress on ________, then I will have so much less stress next week and be prepared for ________.”
Next, HBR suggests hanging around other people who are working.
This means either going to a coffee shop with the rest of the laptop brigade, hitting up a public library, or maybe even going into an office building with a common area. Being around people doing work will snap you out of a lazy slump.
HBR also offers:
“…having a virtual session where they work on a task while someone they know is on the other side of Skype also cranking away.”
Ummm, poor word choice, but I like the idea HBR. Find another person to DO WORK WITH while on Skype.
And finally, a brain hack to get more stuff done involves pairing tasks you love with tasks you hate.
“Pairing unpleasurable activities with pleasurable ones to boost your overall mood. This could involve giving yourself permission to do a more difficult task, like writing or putting together a presentation, in a location you really like, such as a cozy coffee shop or even a park if the weather’s nice. You can also try layering tasks, such as listening to music or a podcast while organizing your office.”
Any of these mind hacks should do the trick, just make sure not to talk yourself out of doing the work, get super distracted at the coffee shop or Barnes & Noble, or spend all day doing “fake work” that doesn’t move the needle toward an ultimate goal.
[via Harvard Business Review]