Some people are great at thinking and making up plans of what they want to do, but less good at getting these brilliant projects done. You may have a mental list of all the things that you want to get done or think that you should get done, but you tend to put them off until later. Thinking is great, but thinking is even greater when it is combined with action.
Here are some tips for how you can move from thinking to taking action:
- Make it fun. Play music at the same time, or make the activity into a game. Making it fun can be especially useful if the thing that you want to get done is rather boring. Get somebody else to do the task with you because everything usually becomes easier when you have company. If there are more than one of you, you can also turn the task into a fun competition.
- Make it into a challenge. If your task is to weed the garden you could for example give yourself one point per square meter that you finish, and try to collect as many points as possible. Compete against yourself and try to break your personal record in number of points per hour!
- Decide what you will do after you have completed the task. Once you are done you deserve to do something nice as a reward. Eat an ice cream, take a nap, go for a refreshing walk or do something else that will keep you motivated to get the task done as quickly as possible.
- Think about why you want to get the task done. If you are procrastinating, the problem might be that you lack motivation to do the task you want to get started on. You may have forgotten why it is that you want to get it done. Write a list of all the reasons to why you want this task done. Once you start thinking about these reasons you might notice your motivation rushing back.
- Tell somebody that you will do it. If you are accountable to somebody there is a much higher chance that you will get your task done. Call your friend and tell him/her that you WILL do X today. You will feel embarrassed if you then fail to do it. If you dare to take this one step further, tell your friend to call you back later to check whether you have completed the task or not. You can even tell him/her to punish you in some way if you fail to do the task. You could for example make the agreement that if you have not completed your task by tomorrow morning you will take your friend out for dinner.
- Write a “to do”-list and cross out the items on it as you complete them. This is great if you have several different tasks to do or if your task involves several different steps. When you have a clear list and you cross out the things that you have already done you will see your progress more clearly and this will motivate you to keep going.
- Set a time limit for working on the task. If you need to do something that may take a very long time and this makes you feel so daunted that you do not even want to start, you can set a certain time for working on it. You could for example decide to work for one hour. Put a timer so that you know when the time is up. Stay focused and do as much as you can within that hour.
Getting things done makes you feel competent, efficient and it helps you to raise your self-esteem. Not getting things done, on the other hand, makes you feel bad about yourself and this is not good for your self-esteem.