8 Task Management Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done

Written By | Time Management | June 27th, 2012 | 25 Comments »

get things done

Because procrastination is such a major concern of so many people, tips to help people stop procrastinating have been developed over the years. Here are eight of the most powerful task management tips ever devised to help you get things done and stop procrastinating in your work and personal life. Think about which one of these ideas could be most helpful to you right now, in your current situation.

Task Management Tip #1: Get things done by thinking on paper

Prepare thoroughly if you want to get things done. List every step of the job in advance. Break the job down into its constituent parts before you begin. Simply writing out every detail and thoroughly preparing in advance will help you to stop procrastinating and get things done.

Task Management Tip #2: Be fully prepared

When you sit down to work or to begin a task, make sure that you have everything at hand so that you won’t have to get up or move until the task is done. Being fully prepared is a powerful motivator for staying with the task until it is finished.

Task Management Tip #3: Do one small thing to get started

There is an 80/20 rule that says that the first 20 percent of the task often accounts for 80 percent of the value of that task. This is probably what Confucius meant when he said that, ‘‘A journey of 1,000 leagues begins with a single step.’’ Once you have taken even one small step to start the job, you will stop procrastinating and often find yourself continuing on with the task to completion.

Task Management Tip #4: ‘Salami slice’’ the task

Just as you would never try to eat a whole loaf of salami at once, don’t try to take on all of a job from the start. Sometimes the best way to stop procrastinating and complete a major job is to take a small slice and complete just that piece, just as you would take a single slice of salami and eat it.

When you select a small piece of the task and then discipline yourself to do it and get it behind you, it will often give you the momentum you need to counter inertia, stop procrastinating, and get things done.

Task Management Tip #5: Practice the Swiss cheese technique

Just as a block of Swiss cheese is full of holes, you treat your task like a block of cheese and you punch holes in it. Select a five-minute part of the job and do only that. Don’t worry about the whole job. For example, if you want to write an article or a book, break the task down into small pieces that take an identifiable amount of time to complete and do just one small piece at a time whenever you get a chance.

Many authors begin by writing one page a day. If you are doing research, you can read one article per sitting. Many people write complete books on airplanes, or complete their college degrees with snatches of time between other activities. If you wrote one page a day for a year, you would have a 365-page book by the end of the year.

Task Management Tip #6: Do the task that causes you the most fear or anxiety

Often, it has to do with overcoming the fear of failure or rejection by someone else. In sales, it may be associated with prospecting. In management, it may be associated with disciplining or firing an employee. In relationships, this may have to do with confronting an unhappy personal situation.

In every case, you will be more effective if you deal first with whatever is causing you the greatest emotional distress or fear. Often this will break the logjam in your work and free you up mentally and emotionally to get things done.

Task Management Tip #7: Start your day with the most unpleasant task first

Get it over with and behind you. Everything else for the rest of the day will seem easier in comparison.

A recent study compared two groups of people. One group started an exercise program in the morning. The second group started an exercise program in the evenings after work. The researchers found that the morning exercisers were much more likely to still be in the program six months later. Starting the day with exercise was much more likely to lead to the habit of regular exercise than putting it off until the end of the day when it was easier to make excuses and procrastinate.

Task Management Tip #8: Think about the negative consequences

What will happen to you if this job is not done on schedule? Both fear and desire are great motivators of human behavior. Sometimes you can motivate yourself by the desire for the rewards ofof task management completion. Sometimes you can motivate yourself into action by thinking about the negative consequences and what will happen to you do not get things done as promised.

What do you think about these time management tips? If you know other effective ways to stop procrastinating and get things done, please share and comment below!

Topics included in this article include

Stop Procrastinating

Get Things Done

Task Management

About Brian Tracy – Brian Tracy is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on google+, facebook, and twitter.

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25 Comments

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  1. Charlotte Roofing says on February 16, 2014 at 7:37 am:

    Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, let alone the content!

  2. Shenoi says on January 15, 2014 at 7:30 am:

    My friend recently told me about a problem that she was having at work. That she have enough time to get things done, but due to some other distractions, she unable to complete her tasks at time.

    I explained to her that the key to becoming good at time management is to understand where the time actually goes and also I suggested to use some time tracking applications.

  3. Fully Engaged says on December 31, 2013 at 2:34 am:

    I love the simplicity of your strategies. Always easy to read and follow and highly effective. You ears should be burning as your name is frequently mentioned in my training sessions!

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