4 Keys to Achieving Your Dream Today
When we procrastinate, it becomes a vicious circle of lowered self-esteem. We feel “weak-willed.” We get distracted by so many other things and push the really important stuff further and further back. Before we know it, months have passed, and all those ideas seem somehow stale and less impressive. That makes us feel less worthy … and so it goes on. But take comfort in the fact that nobody is immune, not even those 80-hour-a-week workaholics amongst us.
Understand that procrastination is NOT…
- LAZINESS. When you limit your hours at work and eliminate distractions, you will find you get more done in less time.
- Or AVOIDANCE of the present. Far from it; we are addicted to immediate gratification. You know that buzz you get when ticking off the items from your “to do” list! It is very seductive, but unfortunately not authentically productive. Cognitively speaking, procrastination is proven to be most closely related to impulsiveness.
Procrastination IS very counterproductive because we are putting off the important, even the vital things, in favor of the urgent and the immediate. Once we understand these truths about procrastination, we can use 4 keys to unlock super personal productivity.
1. Key No. 1: Find time for THE project(s). Turn Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. For if “work expands to fill the time allowed for it,” you can, by setting strict time limits and alarms for the top-priority things, motivate yourself to complete them. Better still, you can push everything else aside for this set time and get some “deep work” done on writing that novel or building that new website.
Perhaps even better than finding time would be to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound) objectives, like stepping stones to your ultimate goal, e.g., “a minimum of 500 words per day in your draft novel,” “learn to use WordPress in 3 x 1-hour tutorials and post your first four pages by the end of the month,” or “make 5 prospecting calls a day.”
2. Key No. 2: Declutter your worklist. Do not fall into the mind trap of thinking the antidote to procrastination is to overload your working day with dozens of new tasks and to work faster. That road leads to burnout. Truly beating the procrastination habit means clearing your life decks to make room for the projects that will create real wealth for you in the long term.
The first step to doing this is to log, in detail, all the time you spend on tasks that are not true wealth creators. You will be surprised by where your time goes. A top tip here would be to put a frequent reminder, say every quarter hour, on your smartphone to ask yourself “am I procrastinating or being super productive?” The aim is to excise all non-wealth-creating distractors. REMEMBER that rest, relationships, and recreation are essential to both health and wellbeing.
3. Key No. 3: Declare your resolutions. Tell everyone who matters to you exactly what your big idea is and what your targets are for achieving it. Because sharing your dream with people you trust makes you accountable to them, ask them to hold you accountable. Not in any formal boss-to-subordinate way, but in the sense that thoughts kept entirely to yourself are much easier to procrastinate upon. “Hey, I’m going to self-publish that book I’ve been writing by June first,” or “My new E-store will be open for business two months ahead of Black Friday. Mark my words!” Also sharing your dream with others takes it out of the idea stage and into planning. One step closer to realization. This is also a significant role for your coach!
4. Key No. 4: Carrots and sticks. Be sure to reward yourself when you achieve those all-important daily tasks that contribute to your long-term dreams. Take a break, go to the gym, have that special coffee, go for a walk, browse the Internet. Just enough of a treat to give yourself a dopamine shot that keeps you focused on coming back for more. Replace the buzz of ticking off items on the to-do list with the buzz of authentic achievement. Conversely, be sure to put a painful price for failure to achieve through procrastination. Donate to a cause you don’t like, forego some personal time, lose a valued possession.
It’s a funny love-hate thing about procrastination. We love doing all the other stuff that isn’t our true goal, but we resent like hell the time wasted in not doing our heart’s desire.
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