Having gone through a life-altering event like my recent breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, I have come to realize that time is the ultimate commodity. How you choose to spend your time will shape your memories and obviously shape your lifestyle. It was really scary for me to have to essentially stop my life while I devoted myself to healing. Through my flurry of emotions, I have decided to be present and find meaning in each moment and experience. For me, procrastination is not an option.
Rachel Karu, founder of a consulting firm in Los Angeles, offers these tips on how to stop procrastinating — and get things done.
Tune in to your strengths and weaknesses
Set aside some time to map out which aspects of running a business fall into your line of expertise and which ones don’t. What you consider to be your weaker areas may be reflected in daily operations: If you love making decisions but loathe accounting, chances are your financial chores are among the last to get done. Consider outsourcing tasks that fall outside of your competencies.
Just say no
When you feel as if you should do something, but don’t really want to, it’s easy to drop the ball, Karu explains. Before you agree to do something, take time to consider whether the project is really something you’re interested in. If it isn’t, say “no” or ask if someone else can handle the job.
Understand how long things really take
In reality, many tasks take longer than we expect. To break this cycle, get a grip on just how long things take. Better yet, schedule extra time: If you think a sales meeting will last two hours, plan for three, Karu suggests. You’ll have a more realistic outlook on what you can accomplish during your day.
Adhere to a schedule
Once you’ve estimated how long tasks take, look at a project you’ve been putting off — and work it into your schedule. Next, give yourself a deadline for completing the project. The date looming on your calendar can help spur you to get it done.
When you’re working on something that’s necessary but painful, it can be tempting to check email, help a co-worker, or give in to other distractions. A better plan: Do whatever you dislike the most first thing in the morning for a short period of time, Karu says.
Following these suggestions can be a challenge, especially the last one. What techniques do you use to fight the urge to procrastinate?