Thursday, December 18, 2008


The lazy person’s guide to getting things done Putting off the things we need to do is a fine art that many of us have perfected. We procrastinate about everything we find too tedious or overwhelming—returning phone calls, finding jobs and even delaying routine medical tests. If you’re nodding along as you read this, here are a few simple tips that can help you outsmart your inertia and get things done.

Make a list Getting organized begins with one fundamental tool—a list. Lists can help you feel more in control of your life and help you remember what needs to get done. Buy a little notebook and carry it around with you so it’s always easy to refer to. Enjoy the sense of accomplishment when you cross even one item off the list.

Focus on what really matters Make a list of the priorities that need to get done today---not tomorrow or a month from now. It’s okay to let the house get a little messy or let your emails pile up for a day or two. Tackle what absolutely cannot wait first.

Break things down into smaller steps If a task seems overwhelming, break it down into more manageable, specific goals. Telling yourself you need to “lose 10 pounds” is not specific enough about how you’re going to get there. Set smaller goals in short-term increments, like walking three times for an hour in the next week or doing 10 sit-ups each day. By setting baby steps, you’ll be much more likely to accomplish your goal and also be inspired to go further.

Put a time limit on yourself It’s always hardest getting started, but it’s a lot easier to say “I’m going to work on this for 30 minutes starting now.” Then stop. Sometimes, knowing there’s light at the end of the tunnel can get you going—and even help give you the momentum you need to keep going.

Eliminate distractions In this era of immediacy, it’s easy to get side-tracked by a million little things that sap our motivation. If you really need to get something done, turn your phone off. Stop answering emails. Make yourself unavailable. If you’re at work, close your door or put headphones on to make it harder for someone to interrupt you

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