How to Push Past Procrastination With Proper Planning

How to Push Past Procrastination With Proper Planning April 3, 2013

Do you know what the most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing your productivity is? According to Brian Tracy, author of the bestselling productivity book “Eat That Frog,” it’s your ability to plan.

Yep. In fact, making plans, setting goals, and taking action on them largely determines the course of your life. Or, as time management guru Alec Mackenzie puts it: “Taking action without thinking things through is a prime source of problems.”

Here are proven ways to get more things done, which I learned from Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog.”

Increase your ROE

No, I’m not talking about Return On Equity here. Rather, one of your top goals at work should be to get the highest possible return on your investment of energy – physical, mental, and emotional. And the best way to ensure this is by creating and sticking to a plan.

Remember, it was Nobel Prize-winning Prime Minster Winston Churchill who said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

Every minute you spend planning will save as much as 10 minutes in execution. Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes to plan your day. Yet this small investment of your time will save you up to two hours in wasted time and effort throughout the day.

How to Make a Plan

So how do you do it? It’s really simple. All you need to do is get a piece of paper and a pen. Then write down everything you have to do before you start working.

Make your list for the next workday the night before. If there are tasks that you haven’t completed during the previous day, move them onto your list for the coming day. Then add everything new that you have to do for the next day on top of that.

The payoff you get for making your list the night before is that your mind will work on the list while you sleep. Then when you wake up the next day, you’ll find that you have useful ideas that’ll help you do your job faster and better.

Four Lists for Four Purposes

Although having one list is better than none, you should create four different lists for four different reasons.

  1. The first list you should create is a master list, in which you write down every single thing you want to do sometime in the future. This is where you capture every idea or new task that comes up. Don’t hold yourself back, and don’t worry about priority and sequence at this point. You can sort this out later.
  2. The second list you should have is a monthly list that you create at the end of the month for the month ahead. This will contain items that you transfer from your master list.
  3. The third list is a weekly list where you plan your entire week in advance. Move items from your monthly list onto this list.
  4. Lastly, transfer items from your weekly list to your daily list. As its name suggests, these are the specific tasks that you’re going to complete the next day.

Working Your List

Now that you have your daily list, as you work throughout the day, cross off each item as you complete it. Doing this will give you a visual picture of accomplishment as well as a feeling of success.

Seeing yourself working through your list will motivate you. Steady, visible progress will help you push past procrastination and move forward to accomplish even more.

Planning a Project

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, artist, and politician.

Whenever you have a project to complete, start by making a list of every step you’ll need to take in order to move the project from beginning to end. Then organize the steps by both priority and sequence.

Once you’ve done that, start working on one step at a time. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done by working this way.

As you work from your lists, you’ll feel as though you’re in greater control of your life. Start planning each day in advance, and your work will go much faster and smoother than before.

How do you push past your procrastination? What are your thoughts on these tactics? Leave a comment!

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