How to stop procrastination.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Time running out

Procrastination.

To avoid procrastination do the hardest thing first.

Having an unpleasant chore hanging over your head creates a lot of stress. Doing things that are unpleasant now for a future benefit tends to get put off. Putting off that unpleasant chore and dealing with what is hanging over your head uses up a lot of energy. You’re only going to have so much willpower and when it’s gone nothing gets accomplished. By doing the hard thing first, you make the rest of your day that much easier. Completing a task you didn’t want to do, can give you a feeling of accomplishment and make you feel extra productive. With that one big thing off your list, you can breeze through several smaller chores.

Increase your productivity by creating a second morning.

If you’re one of those people who is most productive first thing in the day, but your productivity drops off as the day progresses, consider breaking your day into two segments. When you come back from lunch or shortly after that, revise your to-do list. Crossing off the things you’ve already completed will give you a sense of accomplishment. Begin the second part of your day by tackling the remaining “hardest to do” task.

If a new challenging project has cropped up, you can get it out of the way while you still have some energy rather than carrying it over until a tomorrow which may never arrive. This two-part day will leave you with primarily smaller, easier to do things to tackle at the end of your day when your energy is running low.

To defeat procrastination, break difficult projects into chunks.

When we are faced with large projects, they seem overwhelming. It’s natural to procrastinate when you’re overwhelmed. Breaking a large project into smaller parts allows you to whittle that project down to a manageable size. Tackle the overwhelming the same way you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

Do a time challenge to reduce procrastination.

Your day can slip by in those short 10-minute intervals between other things. When you have 10 or 15 minutes left before the next thing you need to do, or place you need to go, set a time challenge. Don’t tell yourself you don’t have enough time. Ask yourself how much of this project can I get done in these 10 or 15 minutes, I have available to work on my project.

Increase your focus by reducing your distractions.

Close your email browser. Turn off your cell phone. Close the door to your office if you can. When I’m writing, I wear a pair of headphones playing relaxing background music. This keeps me from being distracted by conversations and sounds in the environment. If you’re only going to have 10 minutes to work on something, give it your full attention.

Perfection is the enemy of productivity.

Trying to do everything perfectly can result in you getting nothing accomplished. The illusion that you need to write a perfect book has kept many a would-be writer from ever finishing their book. Some things only need to be good enough. Productive writers know that you must start by producing a messy, imperfect, first draft before they have something to revise and edit. Ask yourself just how perfect this project needs to be. Invest your time and energy into the important things rather than trying to do less critical tasks perfectly.

Don’t wait until you can make time to do something.

The idea that you can “make time” to do something you have been putting off is a mirage. There’s no way to make any more time. Each week consists of 168 hours. If you want to be financially stable, you need a money budget. If you’re going to be productive, you need to budget your time. You may be able to borrow money, but you can’t borrow time and pay it back next week. Create a time budget. Invest a little of your time each day into getting something accomplished, and at the end of the week, you can see how small investments of time compound.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do.

Focusing on how much you must do and how hard it will be to do it uses up a lot of time that could be better spent working on the tasks at hand. Narrow your vision to the one thing on your to-do list. Get as much done on that thing as you can, using the time and resources you have. If you tell yourself, you can’t do something you won’t be able to do it. Tell yourself you can do it and watch what can happen.

Avoid procrastination by making a public commitment.

Announce your projects to the world. Tell a friend. Tell your family. Tell someone at work. Once you’ve announced that you are going to do something positive, peer pressure will increase your motivation to get it done. When we tell ourselves what we are going to do, it’s easy to lie to yourself. When you have told someone else what you plan to do, there’s an extra incentive to get it done.

Plan a project-marathon.

If you’re the type of person who works best in chunks, block off an afternoon, or a day, and challenge yourself to see how much you can get done when you work on one thing and only that one thing for a set period. I sign up each year for NaNoWriMo (the national novel writing month contest.) I commit to trying to write a 50,000-word novel during the 30 days of November. Having that self-imposed deadline has resulted in my finishing novels three years in a row. These novels are first drafts and need a lot of revision but participating in these writing marathons gets something accomplished.

Why do you procrastinate?

Most people procrastinate because they have too many things on their to-do list. Why you procrastinate is not as important as learning how to put an end to the procrastination monster. Learn to say no. Scratch some things off that to-do list. Make it a point to decide what’s important and do that first. Once you’ve simplified your to-do list, apply some of the anti-procrastination tips in this blog post, and watch your productivity sore.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller.

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

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For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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How to be more efficient.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Get more done.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to increase your efficiency.

Do you struggle to get things done? Do you wish you could be more efficient?

Being efficient requires systems and it requires practicing them until they become routine.

Consider incorporating some of these efficiency tips into your daily life.

Get more done by making lists.

Making lists helps you in several ways.  When you try to remember too many things you are likely to forget some things.  It’s easy to get so busy with the day-to-day tasks that important things don’t get done.  Not having something on your list can result in arriving at a deadline without having begun what you needed to do.

Prioritize.

You can increase your efficiency by prioritizing things.  Begin with the things that you must do today.  Avoid spending a lot of time on small things which can eat up your day without accomplishing anything.  Some large tasks may need to be broken up into smaller components so that you can do them a little of that time.

Make a schedule.

Efficient people make schedules and stick to them.  Allow enough time for each thing that you plan to do.  Make sure you include in your schedule time to get from one place or appointment to another. In making a schedule, try to be realistic. Do not over schedule. Machines that are pushed too close to their limit breakdown, so do people.

Do the hard things first.

Make it a point to tackle the most difficult thing on your list as soon as possible.  Do the hard things early when you are full of energy. Few people have unlimited willpower. Making yourself do things you don’t want to do requires a lot of willpower. Don’t squander your willpower on minor things use it for the tough chores.

Don’t expect to be perfect.

All aspects of the things you are doing are not equally important.  Get clear on which things you need to do well and which things have room for error.  Spending too much time trying to send one perfect e-mail can result in not getting all the emails answered. Perfectionism is an enemy of productivity. Don’t use perfectionism as an excuse for not getting anything done.

Take time for both short-term and long-term planning.

Investing a little time in planning can pay big dividends in the long run.  Good planning identifies which items will take longer and which things you need to do first.  Decide which things need doing in the short-term.  Long-term goals require setting up a list of steps that you were doing to work towards them. Time spent planning will reduce the time needed to be productive.

Keep your commitments or don’t make them.

If you fail to keep your commitments, you confuse yourself and others.  Be clear on which things you genuinely intend to follow through on. People with too many things on their to-do lists often fail to complete any of their intended tasks.

Take care of your tools – especially yourself, eat, sleep and exercise.

Invest some time in taking care of the equipment that helps you.  Trying to work with broken equipment is unproductive. Self-care is especially important if you want to stay efficient.  You can’t be particularly efficient if you don’t eat when needed, get some exercise and get adequate sleep.

Focus on solutions, not problems; stay in positivity.

Spending a lot of time looking at problems is unproductive.  When facing a problem, look for a solution.  Positive can-do people are much more efficient. Highly productive people look at challenges as opportunities, not obstacles

Make every day Thanksgiving, be grateful.

Approaching things in a positive manner makes you more productive, more efficient, and a lot happier doing the things you do.  Be grateful for what you have.  Remember to express thanks for the good things that happen to you.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.