The inertia is great. The tasks are piling up. The struggle is intense between deciding now or later and we all know all too well. Yet the funny thing is, while we understand that getting to work on our goals will bring us closer to our goals and while we may derive a greater sense of satisfaction from it, we often stop in our tracks, give in to distractions and take comfortable way out. Even for me to start writing this article, it took some delaying, while in between doing some small sketches and content planning.
January 2016, 11 more months for the year. A month where many hopes and dreams were created, but many to be crushed by the end of the year. Many of us made plans for this year and at some point, thought about how wonderful a year it is to accomplish all these goals. They seem so within reach, yet by the end of the year, some of us simply pushed our dreams to another year or even to give up chasing.
Do you want this year to be yet another one of those years? No one deserves to sabotage themselves like this. Time for take your goals seriously and start doing.
These are 2 big things you need to know to gear yourself to success and to start a year you will never regret.
Using Procrastination to Overcome Procrastination
What? But how? Termed Structured Procrastination by John Perry, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University and author of The Art of Procrastination, he describes how he worked on other less important tasks, as a method of pushing back those seemingly more important ones. He organises a list of tasks which is ranked by importance, intentionally placing daunting goals at the top, to make the tasks at the end of the list seem more manageable and achievable.
In a sense, you are negotiating with yourself, settling for more manageable tasks instead of working on those nightmarish goals. In a bid to make our days more useful, we naturally pick up tasks to clear, and as what procrastinators do, often starting from the less important ones, which in this context, are those goals that you placed at the bottom of the list. So, essentially, you are still clearing work and goals, albeit the less important tasks.
For a quick guide, place the more urgent goals and tasks which are easier to manage at the bottom of the list. So what goes when all your tasks are seemingly difficult and are urgent? Place even more daunting tasks at the top of your to-do list to make the tasks which you need to do now, seem less daunting, for you to start working on them. This is what you need to do to start:
- List out your goals for the year and
- Categorise these goals into 2 types: 1) Easier and 2) more challenging goals.
This concept applies for big and small goals and tasks. Want to clear your room but seems too much for you to manage today? Sure, simply procrastinate clearing your room and do something else easier. What is on your list and is easier to do? E.g. Jogging seems easier and is your goal as well, sure, go jogging then!
By procrastinating the more daunting tasks, you naturally start working on the less daunting ones. There you go, using your weakness to do more for you.
Start Doing More by Lowering Barriers
Too lazy to start? Too tired to physically do anything? No excuses. Take a few minutes of your time, close your eyes and visualise. What is it like to accomplish your goal? What do you need to do to accomplish it? What do you lack now? Write your thoughts down and there you go, one step closer. This essentially lowers your inertia to getting you started on working on your goals.
2. Break down your goals
Whatever your goals are, but to you, those goals of yours are simply too far and too difficult to achieve. What do you do then?
Break. It. Down. Into. Smaller. Bits.
E.g. Do you want to work on your work resume? (something that is not that difficult to do, but often takes way too long to do) Ask yourself, what is it that you will need to achieve this goal? Break that task into smaller bits like this:
- Scroll through job descriptions of jobs you are interested in, to see what they are looking for,
- Write down, in short sentences, what you accomplished in your work so far,
- Streamline those sentences into 5 main points,
- Write a draft,
- Improve and
By breaking down the steps needed to your goal, this further lowers your barriers to working on your goals, and thereby accomplishing them.
In short, to stop procrastinating and start working on your 2016 goals,
1. Use Structured Procrastination, to delay doing more daunting tasks by working on seemingly less important tasks instead. Start by listing and categorising your goals into easier and more challenging ones.
2. Lower barriers to your goal by 1) visualising and 2) breaking it down.
There you go. Give your 2016 a good start and keep going. Your success is waiting.
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