Canceled: The New Habit Challenge: Can We Give Up Procrastination In One Month?
Join us Friday, April 17th at 11 a.m. ET for a live chat as we discuss what happened when we tried to stay focused and stop procrastinating.
This month we're trying to break the habit of procrastination, with a challenge that will be the ultimate test in pushing past the uncomfortable and unfamiliar.
With the help of Leo Babauta, the founder of the popular self-improvement site Zen Habits and his Unprocrastination Sea Change program, we'll work towards putting an end to putting things off this month.
Are you up for the challenge? Follow these steps and join us as we try to give up procrastination in a month. Then tune in here on Friday, April 17th at 11 a.m. ET to find out how this challenge went and share your experiences with your own anti-procrastination challenge during our live chat with Leo Babauta.
You can get your questions or comments in now using the "make a comment" box below or send an email with what your thoughts on this challenge to firstname.lastname@example.org by end of day Thursday, April 16.
Week 1: Focus on our most important tasks (MITs)
The goal each morning was to write down our most important task(s) of the day. We asked ourselves, "of the tasks before us, which will have the biggest impact?" Then I and my fellow Fast Company participants reported to each other via a private slack group what our MITs for the day were to keep ourselves accountable.
I'll be honest, I struggled a great deal with this week. Discerning what's most important is difficult when you're contending with deadlines. Editing articles is most important in the morning, especially because it needs to be completed by a certain time. But what about the rest of the day's work? Does the lack of a definitive deadline make those tasks less important?
My approach, then, was to identify two MITs. One of course will always be the most timely, editing. And number two depended on what broader work goal I wanted to accomplish. This week that ranged from taking back control of my inbox (I returned from vacation with 600+ emails) to working with our contributor network. This two-pronged approach may be a cop out, but so far it's been working well for me.
Week 1: Focus On Our MITs
The Bunny Slopes of our month-long productivity challenge is deceptively difficult for a procrastinator: take one task--just one--and get it done. A procrastinator has no problem identifying important Things To Do and every problem with Doing It. And yet, I got my first two MITs (both articles to write) done. It felt great: two up, two down.
But I've been sitting on my third for three whole days. X, Y, and Z have gotten in my way to keep me from actually working on this Most Important thing to do. That's the procrastinator's greatest anxiety and self-fulfilling curse: that a simple task grows so big that it feels unconquerable. Now that I'm paying attention, I can see that THIS POINT is the linchpin where I, procrastinator, fall off the momentum wagon and let anxieties plague productivity. Shame from failing keeps me from directly re-engaging with my MIT.
All coping mechanisms are designed to fail, the saying goes: and the Last-Minute Panic that drowns out those anxieties didn't work well in college and surely doesn't work well now. Getting MITs done has brought the virtues of Work Early, Work Often back into my playbook, and while I'm still trying to keep six plates spinning in the air with my varied projects, if I can count on myself to get my MIT done every day--why, all these other tasks are doable too, and thus less scary.