3 Ways to Avoid Procrastination on those Decluttering Projects
Number 1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
You keep thinking the project is just too big and it will take too long.
So you just never start. Instead, you write it on next week’s list. And then the next and so on until another month has passed. And then another year. You keep feeling like a failure. You keep feeling defeated.
You talk about the project a lot but you never seem to “GET AROUND TO IT”.
You need to realize that starting a project is often the hardest part.
So start – but start small. Block out a time right now when you will have no distractions and just start today – even if it is only 20 minutes. Make that block of time in your day right now, not tomorrow. Set a timer for twenty minutes and
JUST DO IT!
Keep saying to yourself as you work – I CAN DO THIS!
Number 2. STOP and REWARD YOURSELF
After you have set a timer to keep you focused and have done 20 minutes on that project, it is time to reward yourself; for example, let’s say it is cleaning out your garage. You have worked on that garage for 20 minutes – avoid going over your allotted time that you planned.
It is now time to SAY TO YOURSELF: “WOW, I STARTED AND THAT IS A BIG THING! I CAN DO THIS!”
Now, give yourself a big pat on the back and reward for doing that long put-off project — make it something that you really enjoy – reading a book for fun, going for a walk, talking to a friend on the phone, laying on the grass outside and just staring at the clouds. Whatever it is, just stop your project and do it.
Sometimes stopping is as hard as starting, but this is important. You don’t want to work until you are exhausted and then overwhelm yourself with the mess you may have created. Baby steps are best when first starting.
Number 3 – BREAK IT DOWN AND SET A COMPLETION DATE
After your reward time, go back to the work area and determine how many hours your project will take – examine and write down the different tasks involved.
You may not consider yourself a great planner but do it anyway, even if it isn’t perfect. Don’t worry if you are correct in your estimate; just feel good that you have a good feel for when you can complete it and a deadline set. Now break the project up into segments. For example, if it is a room, break it into zones – closet, floor area, desk, dresser, bed, bookcases, nightstand, etc.
You may want to start working on the project again and make a big mess that you won’t have the energy to clean up. I caution you NOT TO DO THIS! It will just overwhelm you, and you will not continue with the project.
Instead, set a time block for the next day and write it down. Be sure to keep that appointment you made with that project. Continue to work at it every day and block off at least 20 minutes a day for it. You may feel like doing another twenty-minute segment, and I encourage you to do that. And then perhaps another.
Take a 5-minute break in between each twenty-minute segment of work. But make sure you are not letting the rest of your duties slide – you need to keep up with your daily chores, eat regular meals, and have frequent rest times.
If you don’t, you will get overwhelmed again and no longer want to work on your project. I found it handy to do a daily chore on my 5-minute break – wipe off a counter, load some dishes in the dishwasher, put a bag of clothes in the washer, read and delete some emails in your inbox – you will be surprised how much you can do in that five minutes.