"Be like a postage stamp - stick to one thing until you get there." Josh Billings
1. The 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle. 20% of activities on your to-do list will produce 80% of your most desired results. What do you want to accomplish? What are those activities you must do? The ability to determine those tasks and then complete them on time can have more impact on achieving your goals than anything else.
2. Write down those tasks and specific time frames for when you will work on them. Write them in a place where you will constantly see them to be reminded. For example, I often write on a white board in my office, "type two business success articles Wednesday 2:00 to 4:00 p.m." This way you're constantly reminded of what you are to do and when. You will get around to completing these tasks sooner rather than later because by "seeing" them all the time, you'll want to cross them off your list. Consider erasing the tasks after completing them so you no longer have to look at them.
3. Plan a reward ahead of time. Make sure you give yourself some type of reward when finished. It can be as small as penciling in time to work on the things you enjoy. For example, in Portland, Oregon where I live there are many beautiful fenced dog parks.
After staying in and working hard, my dog, Joy, and I often end the day at the dog park socializing and playing with others. It's as much a reward for her as it is for me. We like the fresh air and especially enjoy the long daylight hours, often until 10:00 p.m. in the summer.
4. Do the thing you like least first. Research points to the fact that the longer you put off something, the harder it is to get motivated. It becomes easier to experience procrastination. So get started! I often hear in my time management courses from many people that they exercise first thing in the morning before work. Many of these individuals report to me that they have to drag themselves to the gym but feel so much better afterwards. Not to mention it's done for the day. You don't have to think about it.
5. Break it down into baby steps. To avoid overwhelm, avoid saying, "I'm going to sit down and work on this for the next six hours straight." Instead say, "I'm going to work on this first thing in the morning from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. If then I want to stop I can. When you tell yourself you will "only" work on something for X number of minutes, it makes it more palatable. And what usually happens is you get on a roll and want to keep going.
6. What can you delegate? You don't always need to delegate an entire project. Instead consider delegating a task or role within that project. Ask yourself, "What must be done that only I can do?" These are the tasks you must do. Whatever can be done by someone else, consider delegating. This is a difficult concept for those of you who like control. It's easy to say, "If I want it done right I better do it myself." Or, "In the time it takes me to train someone I can do it myself."
7. The power of focus. On a recent business trip, I was sitting on my hotel bed trying to change the TV channel with the remote control. It wasn't working. I figured it must need a new battery. As I aimed and better focused my hand toward the TV, it changed channels! Yet, beforehand when I was "less focused," and not aiming properly it wasn't going to happen. You can be putting tremendous energy into something, but is it the right thing? Refine your focus.
8. Consequences. Take into account what will happen if you don't complete those 20% of tasks that produce 80% of your desired results. There is often pain in thinking about a task we don't want to do, but by procrastinating the pain only increases. You're not having fun on the enjoyable tasks because in the back of your mind you're thinking about what you must do and "should" do.
Keep in mind that everything you procrastinate today only compounds tomorrow's pressure. To be motivated toward your goal and achieve success requires you to have strong "motive" and move. Decide what you want. What tasks must be done in order for you to accomplish your goals, dreams and aspirations? Act now. Don't wait another day. The future is now.