Today we tackle procrastination! I can just hear the groans.
Can’t we just do it tomorrow?
However, Olin Miller once said, “If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, keep putting off doing it.” And great words from Victor Kiam, “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”
Who, you ask, are Olin Miller and Victor Kiam? I have no idea. But, hey, those are pretty darn good quotes, don’t you think?
Everyone feels like procrastinating now and then. If you’ve found yourself putting off some important job and organizing your sock drawer instead, here are yesterday’s promised three steps to help you tackle that pesky opportunity thief, Procrastination.
Step 1 – Recognize that you’re procrastinating
If you’re honest with yourself, you probably know when you’re putting something off. But just in case, here are some useful indicators that will help you know when you’re procrastinating.
- Filling your day with low priority tasks from your To Do List.
- Reading emails several times without starting work on them or deciding what you’re going to do with them.
- Sitting down to a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee.
- Regularly saying “Yes” to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, and filling your time with these instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.
- Waiting for the “right mood” to hit before tackling a project.
Step 2 – Work out WHY you’re procrastinating
It’s important to understand why you’re procrastinating so that you can better know how to best approach your reluctance to get going on a project. Possible reasons:
- The job may be unpleasant and you may be tempted to avoid it.
- Some people are disorganized.
- You may feel overwhelmed. You may doubt that you have the skills or resources to fully accomplish the task.
Step 3 – Strategies to STOP procrastinating
- If you’re procrastinating because the task is unpleasant,
give it a try anyway! Many procrastinators overestimate
the unpleasantness of a task. You may find that it’s not as bad as you thought! Follow Nike’s advice: “just do it” and get it out of the way so that you can enjoy something more pleasant.
- If you’re procrastinating because you’re disorganized, here’s how to get organized!
- Keep a To Do List so that you can’t “conveniently” forget about unpleasant or overwhelming tasks.
- Set for yourself time bound goals. In other words, give yourself deadlines along the way to the finish line of a big project.
- Focus on one task at a time.
- If you’re procrastinating because you feel overwhelmed, break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. Start with some quick, small tasks if you can, even if these aren’t the logical first actions. Just do 10 minutes. You’ll feel that you are achieving things: now the whole project won’t be so overwhelming after all!