Ever struggle with procrastination on important, but not urgent, projects or tasks? Many of my clients do, and I do as well. In this short vlog, I share three actionable tricks that can help you break through your procrastination to achieve those important results that can add value to your business or personal life.
Watch the video now and comment below: How are you going to try one (or more) of these tricks? What do you want to accomplish but need to kick yourself into high gear due to excessive procrastination? What other procrastination-busting tricks work for you?
Halelly Azulay: Do you have deadlines for everything that you do, or are there some kinds of projects that you’d really love to work on, but no one is really expecting them? Maybe it’s a process improvement, or working through a new idea or writing a book or maybe creating a new product or building something that doesn’t exist. A lot of times when we have these kinds of projects, they require our focused attention, and they require time, but because there’s no external deadline or anyone expecting it from you, there’s nothing pressuring you to get started.
I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here with TalentGrow. I don’t know how you are, but I tend to do my best when there’s a very clear and present deadline, usually right up to the deadline. And I just sort of get my butt in gear and I work really, really hard and I get really great results. So these kinds of situations are a big problem for me, and I tend to procrastinate to no end. So, this happened to me just last week, and I used a trick that worked really well. And I wanted to share this trick with you, because I think it might work for you.
There’s tons of ways to break through procrastination, but this is one specific trick that helped me mobilize to make an important goal of mine come true. So here’s what happened. You might know that I have a podcast called the TalentGrow Show where I share information with people who are leaders or aspiring leaders who want to improve their leadership skills, and one thing that I’ve been wanting to do since I started this podcast a year ago was to create a downloadable tool that is free to the listeners of the podcast that will give them even more value and to make that available just to listeners and on my podcast webpage. But as you could imagine, no listeners knew that this existed or that I had this idea, so it’s not like anybody was asking for it. This was sort of an added value thing I thought I would do. Now of course it would help my business and they would join my mailing list and get my newsletter and we’d be able to keep in better touch. So there are definitely things that I could gain from doing this. But, because there was no external pressure or deadline, I just kept putting it off! Because I’m busy!
So here’s what I finally did to break through that impasse and to create momentum, and I hope that you can use this trick. Before I publish one of my podcast episodes, I always record a customized introduction and outro – intro and outro – and I send these files along with the actual interview with the guest, so my podcast producer and editor, Tom, who then fixes it, cleans it up, bakes it all together, and then it’s a finished product. So what I did a week before the podcast was to get published, I recorded myself announcing that the new tool is available for download my website and here is the URL. Yeah, I made up a URL right there on the spot, and I made this a thing. Now, I sent it off to Tom. It’s done! Now, I have a real deadline and that pressure of people expecting something from me. Because I could not face myself if I knew that people who listen to my podcast and heard me say, “Hey, I have this new tool, you should check it out,” and then went to look for it and it wasn’t there. This is not in integrity with my values and my brand, so that’s not an option. That’s it. That’s all I needed. I had been dragging my feet on that stupid thing for a year. But you better believe I got it done that week.
So I created an external deadline and an external public pressure with potential embarrassment if I didn’t get it done. And it helped me create momentum and it catalyzed me working on it, and I produced it and it’s out. I’m happy about that. So what are some ways that you might be able to use this trick to help you create some momentum with some of those things you’re dragging your feet on?
One extra tip – actually two. One other thing I know works for a lot of people and it’s kind of counterintuitive is this. You write a check in an amount that you can afford but that is kind of hefty to a charity that you can’t stand. A charity that represents the very thing that you hate. Because they exist. And you write that check and you put it in an envelope addressed with a stamp and you give it to a friend, a colleague, a loved one – somebody that you trust – and you tell them what your goal is. Like what is the thing that you are working on that you want to achieve? And you say, “Hey, I’m going to get X done, and I’m going to get it done by this date, and if I don’t, you mail that check.” And now you have not only someone else knowing about your goal, which now makes it less nebulas and more real, but now you have the pressure of your hard earned money being deposited into a charity that does the thing that you cannot stand. Would that motivate you to make sure that that friend would never have to send that check? You better believe it. It really does create momentum. So maybe that’s something that you can use.
And then my final trick for you is really just the act of making it public. Sometimes, when we know for ourselves that something is important to us and we really want to do it, but we’re the only one who knows it, well, you’re the only one who knows you’re not doing it. But if other people knew that you were working on it, other people would know if you’re not doing it. And that creates that kind of external pressure that sometimes is all we need to get our butt in gear. So if you tell other people – like you post it on social media or you write an email to some people or you just tell a friend – and you say, “Hey, hold me accountable or watch me do this,” now there is someone else, and maybe many someone elses, who know that this is something that you’re going to do. And will hold you accountable and potentially put on that positive peer pressure on you like, “Hey, you can do it, come on!” Or maybe that negative peer pressure that says, “What? You didn’t do it?” And make you feel ashamed of yourself.
So these are some tricks where you can create momentum for working on something that doesn’t actually have a pressing deadline but that will really add value and is important for you, to create external pressure and get it done.
I hope that you found this tip valuable. This is the kind of thing that I speak about on my vlog as well as write about in my blog, as well as speak about with guests on my podcast. And all of that information can be found on www.talentgrow.com, but there’s an even better way. You can sign up for my newsletter. It comes out on the first and third Tuesday of every month. It’s super short. It’s always upbeat. And it is always angled to make it actionable and relevant for you. So, if you want to, I would love to have you be one of the people that receives this quick newsletter from me twice a month, and you can sign up on my website, www.talentgrow.com. It’s in the sidebar. And, I appreciate you. I hope that you will stay in touch, and in the meantime, make today great. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist with TalentGrow, signing off.
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