Force yourself not to procrastinate and you'll get more done. It sounds obvious and overly simplistic, but Leo Babauta at Zen Habits says it's an approach that could help to wave goodbye to "that serpented bringer of apprehension!"
There is nothing wrong with occasional procrastination, but keeping it in check — being in control of it rather than letting it rule your life — is the key to avoiding distractions and getting on with the job in hand. Leo Babauta has taken the bold step of opting to live without procrastination, and you could do the same.
He has set himself a series of five rules to live by:
- List my Most Important Tasks. I have to list 3 things that are important to me (let's say writing a blog post for Zen Habits, writing a chapter in my book, writing an article for Sea Change). Each day, meditating and reading the novel I'm on (Madame Bovary at the moment) are on the list automatically.
- Do the first things early. As soon as I start my day, I will meditate without procrastination. Then read my novel. Then do the first Most Important Task on my list for 20 minutes. Those I'll do without fail.
- Get the other things done as early as the schedule allows. We'll be travelling, so I might not be able to do all my Most Important Tasks as early as possible. But I still have to do them, and I'm not allowed to read online, check email, check social media, or do other trivial things until I have them done (except for breaks).
- A 10-minute break is allowed after my 20-minute unprocrastination session ends (though again I can extend the 20 minutes as long as I want). I can check email etc. for 10 minutes, then go into my next 20-minute unprocratination session.
- No wine at night if I mess up. I'm not perfect, so there might be times I'll mess up. When I do, I'll take a small penalty — no wine.
It's an experience that could create a habit that sticks, and you can gradually lengthen procrastination-free periods (not too long though — remember, you need to take breaks!).
The No Procrastination Challenge [Zen Habits]