Procrastination is the credit card of time management. You can get a little extra time now, but you will pay for it later.
You find yourself putting off doing something that you regard as unimportant. But you know you will have to face the consequences of your lack of effort later on.
I think the worst and most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will be looking for some bit of fact or figure to include in the novel, and before I know, I’ve wasted an entire morning delving into that subject matter without a word written.
– James Rollins
The good news?
You can banish procrastination from your life forever
How? Start by adopting these strategies:
1. Admit that you look for diversions. The vast majority of those who procrastinate do it by finding something else to focus on, rather than paying attention to the task at hand.
• For example, your lawn needs to be mowed, but you see your neighbor and decide to go chat with him instead.
• If you can acknowledge that you purposely look for distractions to avoid what needs to be done, you’ll be on your way to curbing your procrastination.
2. Think about how you’ll feel when you complete the task. What will be different when you’ve completed the thing you’ve been avoiding? If nothing else, won’t you feel relieved when the task is finally done? These thoughts can motivate you to take action.
3. Consider how you’ll feel when the job isn’t finished. If you continue to procrastinate, how will you feel about it? Use those negative feelings as motivation to get the job done now.
4. Stop making excuses. Maybe you think you’ll do a poor job or you convince yourself you’ll do a better job when you’re down to the wire. You might even say to yourself, “I’d really like to get that done, but I’m in a time crunch now.”
• Recognize that these are empty excuses that just contribute to your procrastination.
5. Just do it. Nike made the saying famous and it applies here. Rather than spend time avoiding a task or wishing it was already done, just start it now.
6. Set goals and make a list of what needs to be done. Jot down a list of things you’ve been procrastinating about. Then, next to each task, write down your completion date.
• Use your calendar to ensure you have enough time. Divide larger tasks into a series of smaller tasks and list each of those tasks on your calendar too. That will make it easier to see at a glance which tasks you intend to do each day so that you don’t overwhelm yourself and can schedule a reasonable time in which to complete each task.
7. Celebrate your successes. When you complete a task you’ve been putting off, reward yourself. It might be a dinner out with a friend, a trip to see that new museum, or a relaxing pedicure. Be proud of yourself for stopping the cycle of procrastination.
Procrastination may be the credit card of time management. But you have the power to change from credit to paying cash.
“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
― Denis Waitley
Make a list of the things that need to be done and complete those tasks immediately. You’ll feel less weighed-down by your life if you learn to get things done in a timely fashion.
Top Photo by Arjan Richter