1 Take charge of your distracters. We all have them; those activities that draw us away from the task in hand. You know yours, but maybe you’ve not labelled them for what they are. Do you find yourself logging onto Facebook when you sit at your computer to start writing that essay? Does that reality TV show draw you away (for just a few more minutes) from your household chores (again)? Is it easier to wander away from your desk to pass a few moments chatting with a colleague rather than make that call?
Take a little time to identify your personal distracters. Once you know where the time drainers are in your day, you can prepare yourself to manage them differently. Now you can make the informed choice not to go on-line until that letter is written, or see the chance to chat with your colleague as the reward you give yourself for having made that call. It takes a bit more conscious effort on your part, but when you recognise your distracters for what they are, and how they get in the way, you are taking the power back from them and taking charge of your day again, rather than being controlled by them. How good will that feel?
2 Review your To-Do list. Do you make a list of what you need to do, and then find yourself adding to it rather than taking items off it? If so, it’s time to review your list-making practices. Review your current list, and dump anything on it older than a week – if you’ve not made headway on it by now, it really isn’t a true priority. Now, pick just three things that do need to get done today, select the easiest of these and make this your number one priority. Getting this item out of the way will give you a boost and provide momentum for you in tackling the next thing you have to do. It will also show you that you can get things done and that is an important unconscious message to carry with you.
Don’t add anything more to your To-Do list until you’ve removed something from it. That way, you keep it to a manageable size and your belief that you can get through it successfully increases.
3 Break tasks down into chunks. If you find that the task that you have to do still feels too overwhelming, look at how you can break it down into more manageable pieces, and tackle these in turn. Trying to write a presentation? Break it down into an introduction, then four or five key points from the body of the piece and then a summary of what you’ve said to end with. Struggling with the housework? See yourself sorting out one room at a time rather than the whole house and it will start to feel much more achievable.
And once you’ve completed each part of the task or item on your list, allow yourself a reward to acknowledge a job well done. You know that you’ll have earned it, so it will feel all the more sweet.