If distracting yourself from important tasks has become a long standing habit, sometimes you just need to try substituting a new habit.
Here are five ways to help keep your focus on the task at hand:
All activities can be sorted into four categories:
• important and urgent (do it right now)
• important but not urgent (can wait but shouldn’t)
• urgent but not important (driven by a time pressure, often someone else’s)
• not important and not urgent (enough said)
Most people get distracted by the last two types of activities. Before you undertake a task, ask yourself which category it falls into. Are enough of your important things being taken care of, or are you giving too much time to other stuff?
2. Just begin
Sometimes you look for distractions because you’re finding it difficult to get started doing something. Inertia can be challenge – its easier to keep doing something else (watch tv) rather than start something new (take the dog for a walk). The way to overcome inertia is to just begin. Shove yourself into a new activity with a commitment to stick with it for only 15 minutes. Most times that’s enough to get you focused.
3. Watch for your favourite distraction
Everybody has their favourite way to kill time. Identify your preferred method of procrastination and then be on the lookout for it. When you’re drawn to your favourite distraction, ask yourself whether there is something else that needs your attention instead.
4. Be more accountable
When you are choosing to procrastinate, be more accountable to yourself and others. Say out loud: “I’m choosing to do X even though Y would serve me better.”
5. Practice meditation
The goal of meditation is not, as some people think, to “empty your mind.” Meditation helps you to quiet your mind so you can more easily hear your true inner voice. It trains you to notice distractions and let them go. That’s a grat skill to learn no matter whether you are meditating or trying to focus on a task.
What your best tip for holding your focus when you are tempted to procrastinate?