I’m excited to share a post by my friend Leslie Josel, Principal of Order out of Chaos, an organizing firm specializing in student organizing and chronic disorganization. Leslie is a graduate of the JST Coach Training Program for students and long time member of the ICD and NAPO. Leslie is the award winning author of, “What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management” and created the award winning “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management,” that helps students develop time management skills. A respected expert on student issues, Leslie conducts workshops and seminars to parent and educator groups internationally. Leslie has also been featured in dozens of national broadcast and print media on these subjects. Connect with Leslie at www.orderoochaos.com.
Thanks so much Leslie for sharing your insights with us! Read on to become inspired!
It happens to the best of us.
Actually it happens to all of us! Procrastination is a challenge for everyone—students and adults alike. How many times have you said “I’ll get to it…when I get the chance”? And of course, that chance never arrives. We’re all wired to put things off, BUT we also have the capacity to override that tendency.
Here are 10 tips to help kick procrastination to the curb!
1. Use a planner.
Research shows that if we WRITE it down we COMMIT to doing it. It holds us accountable. So get writing! For your student, we recommend Order Out of Chaos’ “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management” (http://ooocplanner.com). Want to get the whole family involved? Check out Time Of Day Calendar’s “Day-Ja-View Family Calendar”. It is the ultimate family communication tool as its reusable plastic overlay allows families to effectively plan their schedules together. (http://www.timeofdaycalendar.com/day-ja-view/)
2. Break larger goals into small achievable tasks.
I can’t stress this point enough. We know that breaking things down into manageable parts makes working toward them less overwhelming. BUT, it also provides multiple opportunities for smaller successes. And with success comes the acknowledgement that we can do it! So instead of putting on the to-do list “Renovate kitchen”, try writing “Call contractors,” “Pick out paint colors,” etc. Much easier to wrap our brains around accomplishing smaller tasks!
3. Assign “Due Dates” and schedule appointments for each task.
Decide when each goal is due and work backwards to figure out how much time you have to accomplish each task. Assign deadlines to complete each one and schedule regular appointments to work on them. Make these appointments non-negotiable. You wouldn’t cancel the meeting with your child’s teacher or your client so treat appointments with yourself with the same urgency!
4. Use a timer.
This is one of the simplest but most powerful tools to keep on track. I am a huge timer girl! Setting aside a predetermined amount of time to work can help anyone stay on task during that time period. You can use it for anything around the house, like when you want to clean out closets or organize files.
5. How low can you go?
Get started with something easy. One bill to pay, one phone call to make. You get the idea. Merely starting reduces anxiety and gives us a small sense of accomplishment and confidence to keep on going.
6. Become the master of your “computer” domain.
Can’t resist the call of social media or Internet surfing when it’s time to get down to business? Try one of the computer programs such as “Cold Turkey” (http://getcoldturkey.com/) or “Self-Control” (http://selfcontrolapp.com/) that can help block-distracting websites for any set amount of time. Limiting computer time will not only help you or your student remain focused but it provides something to look forward to when the work is done!
7. Set it to music!
Music is rhythm and rhythm is structure. And we all know that we need structure to get things done. Music can help anyone plan, anticipate and initiate, as well as sooth and regulate the brain. Create a 30-minute playlist of music you love. The key is to play the same playlist every time you sit down to work. This works wonders for students as well!
8. Create “your happy place”.
I believe everyone needs to create positive energy around his or her tasks to get motivated and, to that point, environment is key. Paint your office walls orange, pour your favorite cup of tea, purchase new pens. Create an environment that will provide you with enthusiasm to motivate you. Kind of like a natural caffeine boost!
9. Reward yourself.
Frozen yogurt. People Magazine. Zappos. Ok, that’s my list. But whatever yours is, build in the rewards. When a goal is completed, its time to celebrate. You’ve earned it!
10. Forgive yourself.
Yes, you heard me. We get super angry with ourselves when we procrastinate over and over again. Research shows that all that negativity is making the problem worse! So instead of beating yourself up, forgive yourself. You’ll be better for it (and so will your kids).
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Please share your thoughts and comments
Which of these tips will you try first? Please let us know how you were able to kick procrastination to the curb!
To contact Leslie directly, you may find her at www.orderoochaos.com.