By Neen James
Special to the Legal
The summer procrastination bug has invaded your firm (even though it's still spring)! What can you do about it? Here are some simple strategies you can apply immediately to be more productive in the summer … and enjoy the fabulous weather too!
Accept that you are procrastinating. Don't beat yourself up. Don't waste energy with negative self-talk. Say this statement out loud: "I am procrastinating, and I choose to be productive." This will remind you and your team to change your attitude about procrastination. It doesn't sound as scary when you say it out loud!
Identify activities that tempt youto procrastinate. If there is something you don't enjoy, such as researching a case file, or completing team performance reviews, remind yourself that you know you have procrastinated in the past when this activity occurs; however, this time you will choose to be productive. Knowing when you procrastinate is half the battle.
Get a 'Procrastination Pal.' Have another attorney you can call if you are procrastinating that will help you get on track. Let them know they are your designated 'Procrastination Pal' and when you call them they need to give you a kick in the pants to get moving!
Change your location. If you have been sitting too long at a desk, go for a walk around the office, make a cup of coffee or get some fresh air. Change your location for a few minutes, and it may be the kick-start you need.
Make a "to-do" list. This may motivate you if you like to check items off a list. It will also detail activities and help you appreciate and prioritize what needs to be completed. Sometimes just creating a to-do list gives you momentum and helps you realize the task isn't as big (or as bad) as you originally thought. If it helps, have your assistant or someone else work on this with you.
Invest 15 minutes. That is the real secret to procrastination. Dedicate 15 minutes for a task or activity. You will be able to create the to-do list, or write some notes or just do something -- one thing -- for 15 minutes. It works, I promise!
Set a timeframe to complete the task. When you're giving yourself the 15 minutes, try setting the alarm clock on your phone so you know when you're finished. Trying to "beat the clock" may help you stay motivated to complete the activity within that timeframe.
Stick to your calendar or "to-do" list. When you are finding it really difficult to complete activities, promise yourself you will stick to your calendar appointment, even when you don't want to. Force yourself to remain on track.
Spend time 'debriefing' activities that make you procrastinate. Find out why you didn't want to do it or why you were distracted. Make a note to be aware of this the next time the activity occurs.
Reward yourself. If you need to accomplish a task you don't enjoy, make a point of rewarding yourself when it's over. Give yourself an incentive, like heading outside to enjoy the sunshine and some delicious lunch. Think about what you find rewarding, and use it.
Neen James, MBA CSP, is the President/CEO of Neen James Communications, LLC. An international productivity expert and native born Aussie, James delivers engaging keynotes that have educated, and entertained audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles, whether at work or in life. She also provides one-on-one consulting and mentoring to women on a variety of business issues and topics. To find out more about James, visit her at www.neenjames.com/bio, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @neenjames.