Why We Procrastinate And What We Can Do About It

Kick the Habit with Consistency

010417-No Time Like the PresentThere are good habits, and bad habits. You can break the bad habit of procrastination by replacing it a good habit. We learned previously that procrastination melts in the face of forward movement

Create momentum with consistency. Create a daily routine that keeps you on track.

Productivity = Progress

Do you have a clear, “no-brainer” system to help you decide daily what you should work on first? Productivity experts will tell you it’s your system that’s important, not your goals.

You feed procrastination when you know which items you want to get done, only to see few or no check marks next to them at the end of the day. It’s time for a system upgrade.

The Power of 6

True story.

In 1918, Charles Schwab hired a productivity consultant named Ivy Lee to spend about 15 minutes with each of his executives. Lee told Schwab his fee was nothing. “Unless it works,” added Lee. “After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

Ivy Lee received a check for $25,000. That’s over $400,000 in today’s money. What did Lee teach those Schwab executives to do in less than 15 minutes? It has to do with the power of 6.

  • End your workday by writing down the 6 most important things you must accomplish tomorrow. Pick only 6 of them.
  • Prioritize those 6 things. List them in order of importance.
  • Concentrate on that first task when you get to work tomorrow. Sure, there’ll be unexpected things that fight for attention. Do them only if they’re urgent. Otherwise, stick to that list of 6.
  • At the end of your day, take the list and move any unfinished tasks to your list of 6 things for tomorrow.
  • Repeat this every workday.

Why It Works

Lee Ivy’s power of 6 approach to productivity kicks procrastination to the curb for these important reasons.

  • It’s simple. We abandon solutions that require complex systems. This system is so simple that you might even think it’s too basic. What about technology? How about those office fires that pop up? Coming up with reasons something won’t work is a form of procrastination. You can turn it into a habit if it’s easy to do.
  • You’ll make tough decisions. Is it possible to distill your day down to just 6 things? It is if you’re truthful about what actually must be done. Fewer priorities keep you focused. Nobody said it would be easy.
  • Skip the friction. Procrastination feeds on our hesitation to start. You can start immediately when you wake up knowing there’s a list of 6 important things waiting for your workday.
  • You’ll stop multitasking. You are not a computer. Human beings are incapable of multitasking. It feels as if you are, but you’re still working on just a single thing while you think about other things. The result is several things done in a mediocre fashion. Focus on a single thing.

Hooray for Check Marks!

It’s a simple daily list with 6 items. Write them down. Keep the list in front of you. Those completion check-marks are visual cues. They measure progress and trigger habits. They’ll prompt you to act.

A notebook of daily lists accomplishes one more important thing. Motivation kills procrastination. Progress fuels motivation. You’ll have visual proof of your accomplishments.

You’ll do it consistently. You’ll see immediate results. It’ll become a habit.

You’ve reached the end of this 3-part discussion about procrastination. Sorry about the lack of epiphanies. Could it be that common sense is the most effective way to beat procrastination and fire up productivity?

We believe it’s a successful solution. It’s been at the core of our business practice for more than 30 years. We remove complications. We stay focused. We do it consistently. If you think that’s old fashioned, stop by for a tour. Some of the most advanced technology on the market creates the products we make on site at our facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota.