THE ART OF PROCRASTINATION
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Oh how I wish I could say I never procrastinate but that would be such a lie. I am terrible for procrastinating. It was only a year or two ago that I learned what the real reason people procrastinate was all about. It’s when your inner spirit is resisting the task you need to do. Perhaps what you are procrastinating is just not what you are supposed to be doing. Then again it could be that you are avoiding dealing with a situation that is making you uncomfortable. Most of the items I’ve procrastinated over the years were because they didn’t actually fit into my long term strategies. I wish looking back, I could have recognized that and then pushed those tasks aside and got on with what needed done.
Procrastination consumes far too much space in your mind. When you are procrastinating, you spend energy avoiding that task rather than just taking it head on. There are some tasks that can be done in mere minutes, yet get shuffled along the desk for weeks because they are uncomfortable to deal with. What level of relief would you feel, if every task you procrastinate on was just gone from your to do list entirely. How freeing would that be?
Here are a couple of tips that I have picked up along the way that help.
1) Kick it old school and get a pen and paper and write a to-do list of the day. I have a book that I write down everything that needs done, so all of my tasks for the day are all in one spot. Then as I complete them, they get crossed off. It’s such a sense of accomplishment to strike that line right through them. If they aren’t fully completed that first day, they make it to the top of list for day two.
2) Tackle the worst projects first. They will weigh you down the most; get them out of the way first thing in the day, when you still have the most energy. Knowing they are hovering over you will haunt you. I do understand some items you can’t just decide to be finished, however with every project, you can break it into tasks and work it from there.
3) Break the tasks down to bite size pieces. For example, I knew that I needed to get some marketing pieces done, this blog being one of them, so instead of putting “write four blogs” on my to do list, I broke it into smaller pieces. One day I do our blog brainstorming, this is where I come up with topic ideas, and it typically only takes about 10 minutes. Rarely do I start writing blogs the same day. Instead I will then pick a topic and put it on my to-do list for the following day and that is the only thing I have to write about, and then repeat that for four days. It allows me to get all of the tasks done without overwhelming myself with needing to write four blogs on any topic under the sun.
4) Clearly define each task. Some tasks seem too overwhelming simply because they are too unknown. When you clearly label, define and understand what each topic is, it helps you to be able to know what you are supposed to be doing. Imagine writing on your to do list of the day - Do year end accounting books. Wow, what an overwhelming task, but if instead you broke it down into the bite size pieces that go with that task it will be much easier. How about instead of “Do year end accounting”, you put something similar to
a) Gather all accounting documents
b) Separate by month
c) Separate each month by expenses vs income And so on and so forth. It can make a monumentally sized task much more manageable. It also allows you to take the “win” when you complete the smaller tasks. Have you ever worked on a task in your to do list for what feels like days and yet you don’t have anything to cross off the list for all of the hours you’ve spent working on it? That always frustrates me, I need that win to keep myself motivated to keep going.
5) Stop thinking and start doing. You can spend a lifetime planning what you want to do, but none of it actually means anything if you don’t actually execute those plans. Planning takes so much effort, yet if you aren’t executing, it’s all for nothing.