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Procrastination Rehab: Here’s How You Can Stop Putting Things Off
Hi, my name is Chandler Bolt and I’m a recovering procrastinator.
I was living at home when I came face-to-face with this nasty habit, and was forced into a rehab program that would change me for good. My mother, fed up with my inability to follow through on even the most simple of tasks, insisted I learn to change. She was tired of putting up with my putting things off.
It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something that still tries to sneak its way into my life (this article was due a day ago…uh oh!).
“Later” would always come around, but the chores would remain empty, unchecked boxes on my “To Do” list.
So my mother, bless her, did something unexpected. It was so simple, so affordable, so easy, I wish I’d thought of it first!
One day I came home from school and found our home covered in yellow… yellow sticky notes. It was like an interior decorator from the 70s had a sudden burst of inspiration! Everywhere I turned, yellow. Dishwasher: Yellow! Laundry bag: Yellow! American History textbook: Yellow!
On each Post-It note read three simple words that you can begin using right now: Do it now.
Each note was literally stuck to one of my many unfinished projects. I was beyond annoyed—how could I have let things get to this point?—but the tactic actually worked and started me on my journey to killing procrastination.
Procrastination is a form of resistance that keeps us from doing important tasks. It allows us to trick our minds into thinking that we’ll do them later. As a result, we often find ourselves with countless unfinished projects. The reminders of these unfinished projects are everywhere we look.
So what do we do? We remain stressed out, bouncing around from one thing to another, cluttering our lives with even more unfinished projects. These open-ended tasks not only stress us out, but they also keep us from focusing on what we need to be doing. Our biggest priorities suffer because we’re not able to give them the attention they so rightfully deserve.
The only way to keep this from happening is by tidying up all of the loose ends. Whether it is a work tasks, a school project, or simple chores around the house, every unfinished loose end has an affect on your everyday mental psyche.
The “Do It Now” sticky note method, although elementary, is extremely effective.
These three simple steps can bring peace back into your own life.
Step 1: Get a pen and some sticky notes to create your own “Do It Now!” reminders
Step 2: Go around your house or office and put these sticky notes on each of your unfinished projects
Step 3: Over the next week, take care of at least one task per day
When I started tackling the sticky noted tasks my mom had placed all over the house, my unfinished “to do’s” literally began to disappear! Little by little, I took back control of the things that had been assigned to me. Square by square, our house went from neon yellow back to its natural state. Task by task, my list of obligations turned into a list of completions.
Not only did my catalog of “loose ends” begin to disappear, I also began building a habit of staying on top of the things placed on my plate. That’s exactly what happens to everyone else who tries this exercise. When you begin taking care of your incomplete assignments, the sheer act of completing them creates a feeling of accomplishment that enforces the habit you’re trying to create. As the habit is created, you’ll begin to take care of tasks as they come and refuse to let them go unfinished.
Do It Now Challenge
What are things in your life that you need to do now? Go around your house, office, or bedroom and put “Do It Now” sticky notes on all of your unfinished projects. Don’t worry about how many there are; for now, just put a sticky note on each one. Isn’t it amazing to see your chores come alive with just the help of a single neon square? The next step is to prioritize. Of everything you attached a sticky note to, what are the tasks you’d most like to get off your back?
Over the next week, take care of at least one task per day. If a task is big, break it down into several smaller chores to make the challenge less daunting. At the end of the week you’ll be pretty amazed at the progress you’ve made! Watch those Post-It notes disappear one by one, and your anxiety level plunge.
All it takes is a little bit of color, a little bit of motivation, and you can break out of the procrastination paralysis.
As for me? I’m already on to my next task…
Chandler Bolt is an author and serial entrepreneur. He was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age and by age 20 he started and ran businesses that generated over $320,000. His most recent project focuses on giving back to others. He has written the book “Breaking Out of A Broken System” with his brother Seth Bolt (from the band NEEDTOBREATHE). Each book sold saves a life (#1book1life). Find out more about the book at boltbros.com or check it out on Amazon.