End Procrastination

5 Simple Hacks To Overcome Procrastination

We all fall victim to procrastination, so how do you overcome it and focus? We need to learn to get rid of distractions and clear our minds.

This can seem like a daunting task at first; a massive mountain we must conquer and climb. It’s off-putting and can make us apprehensive or even hesitant to start, let alone see the project through to the end. So, I’m going to share a few tips to help you refocus your mind, and break tasks down into smaller steps.

This lesson was inspired by a Profit Copilot student and monthly member named Don. He wrote;

I was wondering if you have any tricks for staying focused. I find I have so many ideas and I keep jumping from project to project. It’s a serious problem. I’ve tried shutting everything else off, but I start working on the project and I need something… next thing I know, its hours later and I realize I forgot about my project entirely. Also, do you know of any good project management software that doesn’t take a year to learn to use?

Don submitted a great question.

So here are my tips to help you focus and get projects done.

Proper Task Management

I’ll start first with a very useful tool for project and event planning called Trello.

Trello is a cloud-based program that works across all platforms and devices and is, in my opinion, one of the most efficient and helpful project management tools, if not the absolute best available.

My fiancée and I are currently using Trello to plan our wedding and it has been an invaluable asset to us in so many ways. I also use it for my business projects, so it is versatile and easy to use. I suggest trying this program if you need a tool to help you stay focused and organized.

The first thing you’ll want to do as soon as you start a project, but before you begin any specific task toward its overall completion, is to write down a list of all the major tasks and subtasks.

A great way to look at this list a little differently is by drawing a line on one end of the page and a line opposite it, on the other side. You’ll connect these lines by adding the major, complex tasks along the way (or project milestones) from start to finish, until you’ve reached the end of the line.

After you’ve added your milestones, you’ll want to add the smaller, subtasks within each. Think of each milestone as a project on its own, when adding your subtasks.

The Escape & Arrival Framework

This is sometimes referred to as the Escape and Arrival Framework; a type of project mapping that allows you to lay out your project in big and small steps to help you organize and focus on what needs to be done first, and what can be finished last. Now you can see a broken-down view of what you need to achieve to finish the project or reach the established goal.

The next step you’ll want to take is to find the weakest points within these milestones. Weak points are the tasks you are unsure about or hesitant to work on.

This may be because you don’t know how to complete it, or you don’t have the skill, experience or tools to do so. Procrastination often happens when we are unsure of our abilities or feel like we may not be good enough at something to complete it. (i.e Imposter Syndrome). It isn’t the only circumstance where we procrastinate, but it’s a common one.

Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is something I struggled with for a long time when it came to my own business. For almost five years I was hesitant to move forward with Profit Copilot. Although I had 15 years’ worth of experience in digital marketing and had created a successful business, I still felt as though I wasn’t qualified to share that knowledge.

I was able to overcome this, luckily, and I’ll share more about that with you a little later, but just know that it is possible to get past these obstacles. Whatever your reason for procrastination is, you should use this first step to find a solution, whether that’s hiring someone else for a particular task or educating yourself more in that area.

Break your project down as far as you can and find those weak points. Then come up with possible fixes or ways to make them easier for yourself. Make this as detailed as you can, and if you’re feeling stuck, take a break or enlist a colleague and ask for some advice.

But don’t overwhelm or discourage yourself from moving forward and finishing your task. Remember, obstacles are not in place to make you fail. Instead, they act as a lesson to improve your skill and create confidence in your abilities.

The 2 Minute Rule

The next method you can use to help yourself stay focused and motivated is called the “two-minute rule”; committing to just two minutes of a task at a time. Although this may seem counter-productive at first, it’s a great way to begin working or give yourself a mental break when you’re losing momentum. How can you do this? Take trying to publish a book or an ebook as an example.

Let’s say you’re either struggling to begin writing or becoming overwhelmed throughout the process, commit to writing just one sentence at one time, or in one sitting.

Because you aren’t aiming to finish the project, only to complete a very small piece at once, you’re likely to start to build up that lost momentum again, and you will be more apt to want to carry on that task further than just those two minutes.

Before you know it, you’ll have been writing for an hour or two and have a sizeable portion of that project done. You’ve only committed to doing two minutes of work and that’s often all it takes to really get your mind in the right place.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Clearing your head and getting rid of the preconceived, negative thoughts you may have about yourself and/or your abilities is equally as important to your success as are the methods and tools you use to complete your project, if not more so. Earlier I mentioned my own issues with procrastination and self-doubt. Although it took some effort, I was able to remedy that in different ways.

I had to learn to stop comparing myself to others and realize that I often thought in black and white, with no grey area or middle ground, which was not conducive to my success. I came to terms with this habit and started writing down all the negative, comparative and overgeneralised thoughts about myself.

It really helped me uncover the underlying problems to these thoughts and change them, as well as separate the thoughts which were true versus the ones that were just a lack of confidence in my own abilities. I also listed all my successes, no matter how small they seemed at the time, which helped to rebuild that confidence.

So, if you’re having a hard time starting or seeing a project to its end, use these tools and steps to sharpen your focus, motivate yourself, and succeed.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow the Profit Copilot website for updates, new articles, tutorials and more profitable tips. If you have questions you’d like me to answer, go to profitcopilot.com/join and join now.

Get Focused, Get Results

Here’s something you can do right now to help you take a step forward and de-cluttering your mind. This is a common technique that lots of coaches use to help their clients to get more of the results they want, and I picked this up a few years ago from Eben Pagan, in fact this is the precise system that he teaches but with my own twist.

Rush Transcript

Before we begin, you might want to grab a pen and piece of paper for this, because I’m going to show you how you can become way more productive, even by the end of this video.

So let me explain the best way for you to use this video, and get fantastic results. You see, part way through this, I’m going to ask you to pause the video and do a little exercise – but don’t worry it doesn’t involve doing anything crazy like lifting weights, …. or walking, but it does mean pushing the ‘pause’ and ‘start’ buttons on the video player, which is enough of a workout for me.

So you’re going to stop the video, use the pen and paper to do the exercise, then you’re going to turn the video back on and we’ll go through it and refine your work together.

OK great, you might be familiar with a video I released a few weeks ago that explained the importance of using your willpower to its full potential, and structuring your time so you focus on high value activities. The things that produce the biggest long term gains.

Well, in the last couple of weeks I’ve received feedback from you guys about this and it seems that a lot of the things some of you spend your time on, or the things that occupy your mind actually have nothing to with running your business, and just getting your head in the right place so you can focus on what you need to do is an issue for some of you, so I thought I’d shoot this to help you out.

It turns out that for a lot of you, the problem is with your internal thoughts, and nothing to do with the outside world.

So you need help with getting your head in the game because you’re thoughts are dominated by things like self-doubt, lack of motivation, relationship problems and that kind of stuff.

So this is where you’re going to change things up and maximise your ability to focus on high value activities. So this will free up your attention and direct it to the areas of your life that can produce the highest rewards.

Here’s something you can do right now to help you take a step forward and de-cluttering your mind. This is a common technique that lots of coaches use to help their clients to get more of the results they want, and I picked this up a few years ago from Eben Pagan, in fact this is the precise system that he teaches but with my own twist.

You see, your mind is a lot like a computer, and if you have multiple programs running, all using its resources, then it doesn’t work as efficiently as it could. We all know what it’s like when a computer is struggling to complete its tasks, we get nothing done, it’s frustrating and we have to reboot it.

And your mind works in the same way, so if you have lots of thoughts running around it’s hard to focus on the import things and get the tasks done that produce the biggest gains. So this is kind of like rebooting your brain, so we stop focusing on the things that slow us down, we stop giving it energy.

So grab that pen and paper because I want you to write down everything that you think about, all the good stuff, and all the bad stuff, write down everything that bothers you, everything you’re worried about, everything that keeps you awake at night, write it all down, everything you think about, both the positive and the negative.

And I want you to spend around 5 or 10 minutes on this, really give it some thought and take the time to do this because it’s going to change the way you work. And if you work more productively then you’ll experience better results.

So pause the video now, go ahead and write a big list of everything you think about, and you’ll know when you’re done when you start laughing. Ok pause the video now.

 

Hey welcome back, so you should have a fairly long list of stuff to work with for the next portion of the video.

Now I want you to go through the list, and if you’re working on paper then you can draw a circle around all the things that are beyond your control – all the stuff that you CAN’T change or do anything about.

If you’re working on the computer, just put a dash, or minus, next to it.

So look through the list and decide on all the things that you cannot control. These are probably negative things and they don’t contribute much to your long term success.

Then go through the list again, but this time put a star or a plus sign next to all the things that you CAN control. These are the important things in your life.

We waste so much time and energy worrying about things that we can’t control, and it eats up our thoughts, productivity, momentum and motivation. And we need to make a conscious decision to stop that, so we can move forward and get more of what we want.

Ok, so now take all the items on your list that have a plus sign next to them and transfer them to a second list, so you take all the things that you CAN control, and make a second list with them, and as you do this, prioritize each one in order of importance because these are your opportunities for growth.

Now for the items that have a circle, or a dash next to them. These are the ones you can’t control. Take a good look through the list and stop at each one, and as you do, ask yourself if you can let it go. Ask yourself if you REALLY need to carry it anymore, and make a conscious decision to say goodbye to it and the negative influence it has on your life.

Then notice how it makes you feel when you let it go. Notice that you feel a little bit freer, less heavy, less burdened. It feels good right, you’re making a conscious decision to remove those worries from your life and you’re freeing up room for the stuff that really matters.

Now, you want to really focus on the first 5 or 10 items on your new list, the stuff you can control, these are the areas that deserve your attention the most and will give you the highest rewards. So you now have a personalized list that you can use to guide your actions each day.

 

Ok great, when you stick to focusing on what’s in front of you, the items on your list that you CAN control, you’ll become more productive, you’ll experience better results, you’ll feel better about yourself and the world around you, and you’ll achieve more.

Right, I think I’ll leave things there for today guys, and if you want to join the Profit Copilot email list and get more videos like this, there should be a link somewhere on this page that will let you subscribe. Thank you for watching guys and I’ll see you real soon.

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Rock Your Way To Increased Productivity

A few years ago I watched a demonstration by author Stephen Covey where he makes a convincing argument about the need to decide and focus on our priorities.

It inspired me back then to figure out what was important in my business.. and it might inspire you too, now.

And reaffirming what Stephen Covey demonstrated – which lead me to writing this blog post, I recently discovered that we only have a limited amount of willpower each day, so we have to use it wisely. I’ll tell you more about that in a second.

But for now let’s get back to the demonstration.

Rock On

In the video Stephen asks a volunteer to fill a jar with sand, rocks and stones. All must fit inside the jar.

The sand, rocks and stones are good metaphors for our daily business tasks.. and all the important things we need to do in order to build a successful one.

I perceive each one of these in a way that means something to me. You will find your own meaning.

The volunteer puts the sand in first (actually Stephen does this for her, probably to rig the outcome –  but it’s forgivable).

The sand represents all the small stuff in our business – checking email, Facebook and reading forums, you know all the stuff that doesn’t really matter or add much value.

Then the stones are added, these represent the more important things like writing blog posts, answering pre-sales emails, and personal education.

Finally, when the biggest rocks are added, the most important stuff that gives the highest returns, like creating new products, providing customer support, and email marketing, the volunteer finds that there’s not enough room in the jar to fit everything in.

This shows that if we focus on the small tasks that don’t give us much return on our investment – and time is the most valuable investment we can make, then we don’t leave much room for the stuff that really matters.

Here’s the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9qWSlABino

What do you think of this?

The way I see it is; everyday we have dozens of things that demand our time and attention, every time we check your email inbox, or social media, or visit forums, someone is asking us to hand over our time and attention.

That’s mostly cool, right? We’re happy to help people when they need it and it makes us feel good when we do.

But think about how many emails you receive. Most of them won’t provide any real value. So why waste time checking every 30 minutes?

You see, when you know what the important things are and give those tasks the time and attention they deserve first, you make room for everything. And if you somehow don’t get everything done, then who cares if you miss out on the occasional news headline or funny email.

Quick Exercise

So here’s an exercise for you to do right now.

Grab a notepad and list down all your daily tasks from when you wake up in the morning to when you stop in the evening, or however long your typical working day is.

Then give each of your tasks a score from 1 – 3.

Number 3 being the least important (that produce the lowest amount of profit), and number 1 being the most important (that produce the highest amount of profit).

Your working day should begin with the highest priority tasks first.

Here’s what my list looks like:

Existing customer support:#1
Product creation: #1
Email marketing: #1

Answering pre-sales questions: #2
Creating blog posts: #2
Business education time: #2

Emails: #3
Social media: #3
Non sales meetings: #3

Here’s why I put things in this order.

#1 – High priority tasks:
Product creation and direct marketing are things that will benefit my business for years to come… long term sales. It’s all about people who are ready to buy RIGHT NOW, or who have already.

#2 – Medium priority task:
Creating posts and answering pre-sales questions will still produce revenue, but a smaller amount. It helps get people warmed up for future sales.

#3 – Low priority tasks:
These typically include other people ….And when it comes to giving other people your time and attention you gotta be extra vigilant. People will suck your time if you let them.

The ones who support your business (customers) are high priority, the people who MIGHT are second in line… while the people who don’t buy your stuff, or help your business grow (and probably never will) go to the bottom of ladder.

So the next time you’re presented with a choice, think about which one of these categories it falls into, before committing.

Remember I mentioned at the start of this post that we only have a limited amount of willpower each day? Well, I was sceptical when I first heard about it.

But there’s an actual term for it, it’s called Ego Depletion.

So, brace yourself here comes the science bit.

The Science Bit

In 1998 scientists Roy Baumeister, Ellen Bratslavsky, Dianne Tice and Mark Muraven did an experiment in which they discovered that willpower is like a muscle – and will eventually get tired.

They separated subjects into two groups; one could eat as many cookies as they liked, while the other had to resist.

Science found that the ‘resist’ group didn’t perform too well on the second task, proving that willpower is finite.

They also found that willpower isn’t decreasing over time, so it’s not a generational thing – 20 years ago people had the same level of willpower as they do today, but we’re being bombarded with more temptations and more demands on our time than ever before.

So choose how you spend your time wisely, and if it’s not helping you to grow your business then you might want to send it to the bottom of your priority list.