I am a procrastinator. How do I get motivated to get things done?
Are you a self-identified procrastinator? Have you tried countless time management methods, but just end up creating endless lists instead of actually getting things done? Sick of always feeling like you do things at the last minute? Lack motivation to get tasks started, let alone finished?
The problem with lots of time management systems is that they tackle the question “What do I need to do?” But shift your focus to understanding what you want – what you really, really want – and you’ll find how to get motivated along with time you didn’t know you had. Welcome to RPM, the Rapid Planning Method. Here’s how to stop procrastinating.
Why RPM, not time management
For many of us chronic procrastinators – don’t worry, we’ve been there too – too often it seems like life becomes an insane time management obstacle course. There’s no time to stop and reflect; it’s always on to the next thing that’s been put off until the last minute. Clearly this is not how to stop procrastinating.
Instead of thinking about life as simply trying to manage time, think about what you need to create a fulfilling life, one where you can grow and contribute. RPM works as system of thinking, allowing you to get to the heart of what you want and then reap the rewards. To get motivated, give attention to what it is you really want in life and then everything falls into place to make those goals reality. You can also think of RPM as a Results-oriented/Purpose-driven/Massive Action Plan.
The three questions to find your motivation
The first step toward taking back your focus and achieving your vision? Ask yourself these three questions – in this specific sequence – on a consistent basis. The order is crucial because if you don’t know what you want, why you want it, and then create a plan for how to get to it, your plan won’t hold up through life’s challenges.
1) What do I really want? What’s the outcome I’m after? What’s the specific measurable result? The more precise you can get, the stronger your plan will be. Take the difference between “I want to lose weight” and “I want to lose 15 pounds.” For the first, you’ll never know when you’ve achieved it. The other can be measured by standing on a scale.
2) What’s my purpose? What are my reasons? Why is this not just a “should,” but a must for me? The emotional quality of purpose makes what you will do not only sustainable, but powerful.
You can amp up how you get motivated by thinking about the trigger words that get you excited about your desired outcome. So for someone who wants to lose weight, you might think about being sexy, desirable, or even energized. As Tony says, “changing your habitual vocabulary – the words you consistently use to describe emotions – you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live.” Using trigger words changes your biochemistry and level of energy, giving you more momentum as a result.
3) What do I need to do? What’s my massive action plan? This needs to be more than just one or two things. Brainstorm a bunch of ideas. What are all the possibilities? You’ll later decide which one has the most power, but the more possibilities you have now, the better.
Start your RPM plan
Step 1: Capturing – write it all down
Humans aren’t designed to keep everything in their heads; we can only keep track of somewhere between five and nine things at a time. Seriously, that’s all our short-term memories can handle. Try to keep everything in your head and stress will follow.
Have you ever had a big project but no idea where to start? Chances are you walked away and did something else, putting it off and continuing the procrastination cycle. But frequently we don’t reach goals because we’re overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, not because we lack the ability. How to stop procrastinating? Write down the things that are a must for you to get done, whether it’s the things you really want or situations that demand your attention. Write everything you have to do for, say, the next week or two. All of it. This is the first stage of chunking.
Step 2: Start chunking
Chunking is how to turn a lot into a little. You’ll group things into a few like categories, creating fewer containers for your brain to try and grasp. This way they can be used effectively to produce the outcome you want without stress or shutdown. Chunking also lets you know the order you’re going to accomplish tasks because you’ve already decided in advance what’s most important.
Fast fact: When most people are learning, they tend to remember the things that come in groups of three. Anything above three often becomes too much for us to remember easily. In other words, most people tend to get overwhelmed after three difference pieces – or chunks – of information.
Look at your list of musts for this week and start to find what they have in common. Start to chunk items that fall in the same categories together; maybe there’s a group for relationships, another for finance or work. Write out your items under their master category so that you can easily tell what goes where.
Step 3: Create your RPM blocks
Now for the fun part. Pick an area that is of most concern to you and create an RPM Block for that area. Here’s how to get started:
- Name your block with the category and list results you want. We’ll stick with the example of losing weight here.
- Now write down the purpose behind that result – why is it so important to you? Here’s where you put your compelling reasons from the questions above. Again, these reasons are the key for how to get motivated.
- Lastly, create the sequence of priority actions that will lead to your result.
Congratulations – You’ve made your first basic block. Continue with your other desired results to make more blocks.
Curious about how to turn your blocks into action items and start getting your results? Dive into The Time of Your Life and use priorities, duration and leverage to build out your RPM blocks even further. By understanding what you want and need, you’ll be able to overcome the temptation of procrastination. And be less stressed. Make it a habit to do this kind of triage every week. Instead of spending energy thinking about how to stop procrastinating, you’ll find that even the scariest tasks become manageable because you know what’s motivating to you.
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