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Non-Deadline Procrastination

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

How to Get it Done When It Has No Deadline

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute. The adrenaline our bodies make while scrambling to finish helps our brains to focus. Be honest, how often do you procrastinate for weeks or months, only to churn out a good finished product in the nick of time? But what happens when the thing you are putting off does not have a deadline? Then how do you get it done?

You may not like to hear it, but as a coach, it is not my job to give you the answers you’re looking for. It is, however, my job to ask you the right questions so you can find your own answers. So without further ado, here are ten questions for you to ponder to help you get stuff done, aka achieve your goals. Just be aware that sometimes what you have in your head as a task, is actually a project – a multi-step task. These are even more challenging to get done, and are great candidates for the ten questions below...

1. Choose

  • What tasks/projects are you struggling with?

  • What one task/project, if completed, would have a significant positive impact on your life?

2. Reflect

  • What have you tried so far?

  • What’s gotten in your way so far?

3. Imagine

  • What will your life be like when this task/project is done? Write about it.

  • Close your eyes. See yourself at a time in the future when this task/project is done. What can you see, hear, smell and taste? What are you feeling? What are you saying to yourself? What does this vision allow for you?

4. Evaluate Values

  • List the benefits of getting this done. Look at each one and think about what it allows for you. Keep asking yourself what your answer allows for you, until you hit a value – something that, when you have it, makes your life meaningful.

  • What are the benefits of being partially successful? What are the values behind those benefits?

5. Consider Costs

  • What is at stake here? What are the costs of inaction? Mentally, physically, professionally…

  • If you did not do this, what will your life look like…

i.. In 3 months?

ii. In a year?

iii. In 3 years?

6. Consider Wider Consequences

  • Who else will be affected by action/inaction? Make a list.

  • How will each of these people be affected?

7. Find Fears

  • What fears are behind you not taking action?

  • What is the worst that can happen if your fears are realized?

  • What could you do to prevent the worst from happening?

  • If the worst happens, how will you deal with it?

8. Retrieve Resources

  • Think back on your life. Identify 2-3 instances when you successfully overcame a similar challenge.

  • For each instance, what helped you? How can you bring these elements to the task/project at hand?

  • What personal traits do you have that helped you in the past and can help again in this case?

9. Ask the Yes/No Question:

  • If you are saying yes to getting this done, what do you need to say no to? What do you have to give up to get this done? Make a list.

  • On a scale of 1-10, how prepared are you to say no to the things on the list above?

  • What can you do to make it easier for you to say no?

  • What else can make it easier to get this done?

10. Make a Plan

  • How much time is needed for the job?

  • How does the job naturally break into stages?

  • List each stage and give each one a start and end date.

  • Sweeten the deal with an external incentive - what will you give yourself when you've got it done? If you have ADHD, you may need smaller, more frequent rewards to keep you on track.

Now that you’ve answered these questions, I hope you feel like it’s a little easier to begin. If you need more tips on the actual starting, check out my Anti-Procrastination blog post. If you still can’t get it done, you may need some coaching, namely hand-holding and cheer-leading, through the above questions. Click here to find out more about how we can work together.

Now get out there and get it done!

Comment below when you’ve done it...

Like this idea? Get weekly tips and strategies for mastering your mind, taking control and thriving with ADHD here.

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