Comstock's magazine 0219 - February 2019 - Page 44

n productivity ductivity, such as the anti-procrastination book by Brian Tracy called, “Eat That Frog!” “[D]evelop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning,” writes Tracy. “You must develop the routine of ‘eat- ing your frog’ before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.” • Set smart goals for your team. How can companies curb procrastination at the organizational level? “Set good goals. Not just end goals, but incremental goals along the way,” says Dr. Sharyn Gardner, an expert at organizational behavior at Sacramento State. (This is basically the “chunking” strat- egy applied at a team level.) When teams hit the smaller goals, they stay focused. Gardner recommends using the SMART framework, meaning each goal should be specific, mea- surable, attainable, relevant and timely. • Start sloppy. This reduces the anxiety of starting a project, which can be especially useful for perfection- ists. “Try to be imperfect,” encourages the anti-procrastination book “The Now Habit.” “Intentionally do the first part of your project sloppily (don’t show it to your boss yet); do it fast and inadequately.” • Make the goals hyperspecific. We’re more likely to loaf if we have wiggle room. “Don’t just say, ‘I might do some writing on the weekend,’” Pychyl tells me, and I won- der how he has peered into my soul. “Instead, say something like, ‘Right after breakfast with my friends on Saturday, I’m going to sit down and write an outline.’” 44 | February 2019 • Get back to work! “If you feel yourself slowing down or becom- ing distracted by conversations or low-value activities, repeat to yourself the words ‘Back to work! Back to work! Back to work!’ over and over,” instructs Tracy in “Eat That Frog!” I found this advice hilariously simplistic and borderline offensive. But I’ve done it every day for the past two weeks and found it use- ful. Usually, I toss in some profanity to spice things up. 3. THE SOUL-SEARCHING: IT CAN HELP MORE THAN YOU’D THINK • Meditate more. On the one hand, it feels like “spend more time meditating” is touted as the balm to all of our problems, from our bodies and our brains to bad weather. Yet Pychyl says, “Mindfulness meditation has been shown to decrease the volume of the amygdala. Just because I have a hyperactive amygdala, it’s not destiny. I can learn to react differently.” Meditation can help us sense an emotional aversion to doing our task that we can calmly acknowledge and ac- cept, letting it “f loat by” before getting back to work. • Swap “I have to do X” with “I choose to do X.” When you reframe your tasks as a matter of choice, you think about the underlying reasons that they’re on your life’s to-do list. This, in turn, forces you to think about your values and your priorities. • Delay … with purpose. Tracy says that for the tasks that are less im- portant, use “creative procrastination” to