Pssst! Chances are, you’re reading this, imagining a whisper voice, because that’s how secrets are typically shared.
Well not today! I’m shouting from the rooftops in order to make sure you find your best success, and beat procrastination. These 5 secrets will help you do just that, and before my shouting voice wears out – let’s get right to ’em!
1. Must Do’s Are A Must
My daughter is always teaching me what she learns in school. One of her teachers implemented a morning routine most likely to get the kids settled first thing as class starts. But it’s so brilliant, I’m stealing it to illustrate my first secret.
As class begins, my daughter’s teacher goes over the Must Do’s and the May Do’s for the day. The Must Do’s are the things that must get done by a certain time. They are the worksheets, writing assignments, or whatever project was not completed the day prior. The Must Do’s are the non-negotiable items. The May Do’s are whatever might be left to tackle.
Secret number 1 is simply this: set up your day to include the Must Do’s and May Do’s. Instead of constantly putting the tasks that plague you at the top of your list only to skip it and move on to the easier tasks, make it a Must Do. Make a deal with yourself that nothing else happens until it’s done.
2. Get Your Butt Out Of Bed
Sickeningly enough, it’s some sort of proven fact early risers get more done, are more productive, feel more confident, and even make healthier choices regarding food and exercise throughout the day. Ugh.
So why do the rest of us hit snooze over and over? As hard as it is, challenge yourself to get up earlier. Even starting 15 minutes earlier will begin to re-train your brain and soon, you’ll be in the 5:00 a.m. club with all the cool kids, knocking out the most important tasks before the dog needs let out or the littles start to stir.
Getting up early will leave you free to work on whatever you want to after you Must Do’s are taken care of.
Need a little help convincing yourself getting up early is worthwhile? Try reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, or Andy Traub’s The Early To Rise Experience. And no, those aren’t affiliate links. I’m just trying to make your life easier by linking directly to the product.
3. Have A Process
So much time is spent procrastinating because we’re not sure where to even get started jumping in to a project. When we look at the process as a whole, we can get overwhelmed to the point of paralyzation.
Jeff Sutherland wrote a fantastic book on doing more in half the time. You can get it here, and I’m just putting it out there that this book and this process changed my life for the better.
How my new non-procrastinating process works for me is by first brain-dumping everything involved in a project. Once everything is down, I categorize tasks in to things I need to do (and times in which to do them), things I’m already doing, and things I’ve got done. As I need to do, start doing, and get things done, I move them from the list they were in when I started to the list they’re supposed to be in according to what I’m doing and how it aligns with my process.
Whatever – it works for me, and it might for you too. But if I’m speaking in tongues as it were, just go buy the Scrum book. You don’t even have to send me a thank-you card later.
4. Find Accountability
Meet with your mentor, your coach, or call a girlfriend or your buddy and tell them what you’re working on. Ask them to send you a check-in text on a certain day, or at a certain time. Don’t feel like you’re in it by yourself, and you’ll be more prone to finishing strong knowing others are counting on you, or cheering you on.
The key here is finding an accountability partner who cares enough about what you’re doing, and invest themselves in your success to actually follow up with you. For me, this is my VA.
She slacks me (if you’re not familiar with Slack, read about it here) with reminders of things I said I was going to do. It’s incredibly helpful to have her hold me accountable (and humbling when I have to tell her I didn’t get to something).
5. Avoid Context Switching
Learn how to calendar your day (plan your time) and stick to what you say you’re going to do.
Be realistic here, in that you want to schedule only what you know you can do in a day. I immediately get frustrated when I wake up and see 12 major projects on my calendar for a Monday. Monday’s are set-the-stage days for me. I work on mission-critical things first thing Monday morning, and have client meetings only in the afternoon, and only when absolutely necessary.
It’s pointless to schedule task after task. Especially for me. I know I’ll context switch (hop from task to task and back again) every 25 minutes and I’ll end up working a 15-hour day. Blocking my schedule into manageable chunks of time is far more realistic, and helps me be far more productive.
I’m not usually one to spill secrets, but I’ve got a hunch you were needing to come across these today. If there’s more I can help you with (like finding your perfect VA), be sure to get in touch today – don’t procrastinate!
And when you’re blocking time on your calendar, make sure to write in some time to see the latest and greatest news we’re sharing over here. We love it when you stop by.
Now get to work.