“Procrastination is the thief of time,
Last week we talked about perfectionism keeping us prisoner. Yesterday, we covered uninspired boredom. Either of these fit you too well? If not, we still need to talk about procrastination. That should pick up a few more people who cannot figure out why they never seem to point “B” or “C.”
What is Procrastination?
Let us begin with a clear definition, and that should give us some clearer insights into what it is and why we do it. Procrastination is the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.
The very definition of the word assumes a couple of things. First that whatever we are not doing needs to be attended to, that it is important, or at least needs timely attention. The second is that we need to do it, not someone else. And, the third, which is where I think most of us get stuck, is that we want to, or are required to do it.
So, if what you if you should be doing something other than reading this, and that something meets all of the above criteria, then I am sorry to inform you that you are indeed procrastinating. The criterion, again… you need to do it yourself, now!
Procrastination is a habit that kills our productivity and robs us of the successes we wish to experience. When we fall into the chronic habit of putting off until later what we are capable of handling now, we only succeed in multiplying our stress. The things we drag our feet to do and put off rarely sort themselves out by the time we finally get to them. And, the molehills of life often turn into mountains as a result.
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet.
You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that?
~ Bill Watterson
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
Instead, we can experience a life with less feeling of drudgery, and one with more abundant joy and peace simply by making the decision to take actions on a consistent basis. It will make you feel more decisive and confident, and you will find that you are able to move through your schedule more efficiently and effectively. Here are a few quick tips:
1. One-minute rule.
Throughout the day, your mind will work to bring to your attention back to things that you need to accomplish. As you think of these things, write them down. If the task takes less than a minute to complete, why not just do it now and get it over with? This step alone will help you feel productive.
Most of us don’t realize how much of a drain clutter is a drain on our mental energy. A junk-free environment promotes action, while cluttered space fuels procrastination. Try spending just to spending minutes per day straightening up your home or office. In those 10 minutes, throw away as many pieces of papers and things that you do not need as you possibly can. This will eliminate some wasted time shuffling things around looking for what you want or need. Also remember that the things that clutter your space are robbing you of your peace of mind. Reclaim that peace by reclaiming your space.
3. Get some help.
If you find that your procrastination is due to your lack of organization, a professional can quickly help you regain control. An organization professional is the fastest way to turn a life of chaos into complete order.
4. Figure our why you are procrastinating.
Ask yourself questions to determine the reason for your indecision. Every form of procrastination is really a delayed decision. Do you need more information to make the right choice? Is there a fear that you are avoiding? Is the task unpleasant? Does someone else need to take care of it? Once you know what is truly standing in your way, you can learn ways to deal with it, get past it and get back to work.
5. Chunk it down.
Most large jobs can be broken down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. List the action steps for your project. Make each step something that can be accomplished in a single short session of work. Focus on one small task at a time to keep you from feeling overwhelmed, and complete the tasks on your list one by one until the project is completed.
Sometimes, the tasks we must complete are simply boring and provide little, if any, immediate payoff. If the job still has to get done, but you are having difficulty getting yourself moving, try bribing yourself with a small reward for completing the task. A warm bubble bath, your favorite movie, or indulging in your favorite hobby are possible rewards.
These are each simple things to begin to put into practice. Try a few of them and work at beating back your tendencies toward procrastination. We can learn from our feelings of hesitation, and still not allow those feelings to stop us from experiencing the successes of life.
Boxing in our boredom, and reigning in our self-sabotaging procrastination, should help us keep on track. Tomorrow… motivation.