How precious is your time? Do you value it like you value your money? No? Then stop reading because procrastination is JUST FOR YOU! If you do value your time, then keep reading.
So let’s break this procrastination thing down.
Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something, usually because it’s either an undesirable task or a difficult one, but sometimes because of distraction. No matter what the cause, something is keeping you from doing what you’re supposed to do.
The War on Procrastination is ongoing and will never end as long as you have a To-Do list. There will always be an excuse to keep you from getting things done, so the best way to attack it is one battle at a time. Before you go into battle, you must do a little research, or soul searching first.
Know your enemy
You know yourself better than anyone else. Whether you want to admit your flaws or not, you know your likes and dislikes, and that’s what is being used against you in the Procrastination War. So the best way to defend yourself from procrastination is to know yourself, because “Just Do It” is just a slogan, not a strategic plan.
What about Willpower?
Even if you know what you’re capable of and you believe you have maximum mental cosmic strength, willpower is not reliable. If it were, the war would be over, and you wouldn’t be reading this!
Willpower depends on
- Intent – How important is it to you?
- Motivation – How bad do you want to do it?
- Mood – Do you feel like doing it?
- Circumstances – Do you anticipate any distractions?
All of these things can change at any time. Think about the last thing you had to do, but you didn’t want to do. Did you use willpower? Did you procrastinate? Or was it a little bit of both? It’s not easy to do, is it?
Of course, there are many different ways to do this, but I’m going to tell you about what works for me. I also won’t go into distractions because that’s a very personal thing that only you can control. I would, however, suggest that you recognize your distractions and limit them as much as possible.
Everyone knows that to eat an elephant you take one bite at a time, but what happens to the elephant while you’re taking those bites? Not sure? Replace the elephant with a fish of the same size.
Now you get it. It smells. It smells so awful that you don’t even want to go NEAR it, much less eat it! That’s what leads to procrastination. That brings me to another wise saying that everyone has heard at some point in their lives.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
In other words, if you know you can’t handle eating all of an elephant before it starts to smell, then why even attempt it? Of course, there will be times when there won’t be any choice but to tackle the elephant, and in those times I’d highly recommend not doing it alone. When you work with someone else, it’s hard to procrastinate because you’re holding each other accountable.
When you have an undesirable thing to do, consider breaking it up into manageable sections, so it doesn’t seem so bad.
Here’s an example:
After throwing a birthday party in your home, the place is a mess, especially in the kitchen. You’re exhausted and decide to wait until the morning to clean up (which is completely understandable!). The next morning you get up and immediately remember that your home is in shambles. Now what?
Breakfast and coffee are a must, but the kitchen is a mess. You can either go out for breakfast or clean up and make your own. It’s just the kitchen, not the whole house, and you can’t eat out forever, or else it’ll start to stink like that elephant. So, in order to be able to have breakfast and coffee, you have to do the dishes. Just the dishes. Then you can have breakfast and coffee. An empty stomach is a great motivator! Now that you’ve got the kitchen somewhat in order and you’ve eaten, the rest won’t be as bad.
In this example, you gave yourself a break and tackled the worst room first (not to mention you saved yourself some money!). The break was the key component in avoiding procrastination in this example. Self-care is vital to getting anything done. If you aren’t well rested, you will make mistakes that can end up being costly. Imagine trying to clean while being tired and frustrated. You’d never have another party again! By getting your rest first, you’re able to think clearly and make better decisions. Now, I wouldn’t suggest going for a massage after going out for breakfast because that would definitely be procrastination!
Tackling the worst room is also an important part of avoiding procrastination. When there’s a list of things to do, people tend to do all of the desirable things first, and then leave the undesirable things for last. That’s right, another form of procrastinating. By doing the hardest thing first, you’re rewarding yourself with the more manageable tasks!
Make a list of the things that distract you and the excuses you like to use to avoid doing what you need to do. Post it somewhere prominent so you’ll be able to know when you’re procrastinating and redirect yourself.