Procrastination, prevarication, inertia - all names for the same activity, or rather lack of it.
We all blame our circumstances, our surroundings or other external influences for not getting on with the "job" - whatever that may be. Finding the next distraction to avoid doing the task at hand is an art; an art of which I am a master after years of practice.
What I have found is that actually, the reason the phone or the pen seems to weigh a ton is largely in our own heads. The reason our fingers will not glide over the keyboard tapping out the latest article is often a mental issue, not a lack of knowledge or facts.
Here are five tips to help you out of the inert state and get in to motion!
Set then revisit your goals - often
Begin by setting your goals. High level. What do you want to achieve in life? Having these goals visible in some form so that you check them often can help remind you why you are doing what you are doing. This is with the assumption that what you are doing is actually moving you towards those goals!
Do you have the goal of taking the family on holiday using the bonus money you are expecting, and the only way to make sure you get that bonus is by making a certain number of calls a day? Well put a picture of that holiday destination next to your screen and you will find making those calls is just that little bit easier.
It can be that simple.
"Screw your courage to the sticking post" (Shakespeare)
Got a tough challenge ahead of you? Are you hesitating to make that call? Putting off that difficult conversation with a colleague or family member?
It has been proven time and time again that you can "talk" yourself in to doing things as well as you can talk yourself out of doing things. If you have a tough task ahead use tactics that work. Hype yourself by listening to some rousing music or a speech you find motivating. Tell yourself you can do it - and tell yourself as many times as needed. Use peer pressure of the type: "If SHE can do it, so can I!" Look for role models that have shown whatever you are going to do can be done - even if it is something as simple as picking up the phone.
Try to imagine the moment after you have done the task. How good will you feel? Visualise that moment and then just get on and do whatever it is you need to do!
Overcome your programming
Very often the reason we are avoiding doing something is because of some inner programming. The only reason we are not taking action is because we do not want to take action, or we don't want to take action enough. Why? Because our beliefs may be holding us back. These can be our beliefs about ourselves or about what we are doing. When it comes to ourselves you may recognize thoughts such as: I'm not capable; I'm not qualified; I can't do this; I am too important to be doing this; I am technologically challenged and so on. If you find yourself thinking that what you are doing (or supposed to be doing!) is not worthwhile and it is difficult to find the motivation to do the tasks then it could be necessary to revisit your life goals, or even your short-term goals to just check you are working towards them. If not, you need to change what you are doing to fit your goals or change where your goals are heading if you feel that is necessary.
Again, visualizing where you will be when you accomplish your goals is an important element of providing the internal motivation to accomplish your daily tasks.
Leap the fear barrier
The fear of rejection grips every person at some point in his or her career - particularly true for sales people! The thing is we are ALL sales people in some form or another, whether we are pitching a huge business idea to the boss or trying to get our toddler in to the clothes we need them to wear. We think, "what if they don't like me, or my idea, or my speech or my clothes? What if I cannot get through to them?" We hang ourselves up on the small things instead of looking at the big picture - which is that all interactions are chances to learn. Every time we hear "No" we have the chance to learn, and actually learn more than when we hear "Yes". We should not be afraid of hearing "No"!
The other rule is that more action leads to easier action - or the more we do something the easier it should become. Lifting the phone to talk to someone may feel really difficult the first time, but the second time it will be fractionally easier and the third time and the fourth and so on. Try it and see - and remember getting a "no" is a chance to learn.
Do it together
A final tip is that if you feel you are still stuck then find someone else in the same area as you and use group pressure to help you (and maybe them) over the hump. Find and use a mentor. Most people are only too pleased to be asked to help someone in need - but if you have tried and it has not worked be prepared to be honest and say "actually thanks for your advice, but your methods don't help me. I need to find someone else." A mentor can also be found online or remotely of course and these have the advantage that you do not need to interact if you have an issue with human interactions.
There are also many self-help and motivational books and articles out there of course and many of them contain lots of nuggets that you can use in life, but you do have to read a lot to get the overall picture!
Each of these tips merit an article of their own, and maybe they will follow, but if you can put just one or two of these tips in to daily practice you may well find that action comes easier than you thought!