Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

Avoid procrastination on huge goals by making a list.

Ah Sunday. Up semi-early at 6:00, the Sens play at 1:00 and I’m watching football at 4:00 with my buddy. I’ll be off to the gym in 30 minutes and I’m looking forward to the day.

Anyhoo, yesterday I blocked reddit completely from my computer. This involves going into the ‘hosts’ file on my computer and manually editing it so that no internet browser can access the site. Once I did that, I found that it eliminated a huge deal of aimless internet surfing.

This leads me to believe that people mostly surf the net when they’re either a) bored, or b) procrastinating. I know for sure that whenever I have to mark 40 papers, I tend to take frequent internet breaks to divvy up the tedium.

However, surfing the internet because you’re bored is generally a poor use of time. Don’t you have goals to work on! More importantly, if you’re surfing the web because you don’t want to work on your goals, that tells you something.

It says either you don’t really want to achieve that goal, or that the goal you want to achieve is so big that you don’t even want to get started.

Well, I don’t really have a cure for the first problem, but I sure do for the 2nd one. If you think your goal is too big to manage, there’s always something you can do to take control. 

Aside: Take control of your goal! Wow, does that ever sound cheesy yet unbelievably apt.

Anyhoo, let’s say you’ve got a huge goal you want to accomplish. The goal is so big, that it’s easy to put off getting started. Because you’re thinking about the end goal, and how far away it is, and how much work is left to be done, and that’s discouraging to begin with.

The trick here is to break up your goal into many, many smaller steps.

Say for example, you have a goal to clean your room. But your room is hella-messy and you don’t know where to get started. Well, you can start by identifying which parts of your room need to be cleaned. For example, you might say that, “I need to clean my closet, clean under my bed, clean my desk, clean my dresser, clean my nightstand and clean the floor.”

Ok, so now we’ve identified 5 areas that need to be cleaned. Then, for each area, you can identify the steps necessary you must take in order to completely clean said area. For example, in order to clean my closet, I have to: take out all the dirty laundry and put it in the washing machine, clean out all the junk on the floors, throw away all the clothes I don’t wear anymore, and clean off all the shelves.

Ok, so now we’ve got 4 things to do in order to clean the closet. Then you can repeat the above list-making step for all the other areas. So at the end, you’ll have a long list of steps you can take.

But before you start cleaning, look over your list and see if any of the steps can be broken down into smaller steps. For example, in order to clean out my closet, I’ve got to put the dirty laundry in the washing machine. Well, if I’m going to do laundry, I have to separate the whites from the darks and do 2 separate loads of laundry. 

Finally, you’ll end up with a long list of sequential steps you must take in order to clean your room. Then, you can simply start doing each task on your list. If you’re *really* unmotivated, you can satisfy yourself with doing one task every hour – or one task a day! (It will really depend on what the overall goal is.)

So, if you’ve ever got a huge goal you want to accomplish, and you find yourself procrastinating on getting started, you can avoid that procrastination by making a long list of steps you have to take. Best of all, if you just commit to making the list and doing nothing else, often you’ll find that this intial “making of the list” will jump start you into action and get you working on your goals.

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November 17, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

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