a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored
Procrastinator? No. I just wait until last second to do my work. Because I will be older and wiser.
As we mark the end of another tax season I have been thinking about why we sometimes wait until the last minute to get things done. From my pondering, several reasons come to mind:
Fear – Are we afraid that we don’t have the skills for a task? Are we afraid that it will not turn out the way we want or others expect? One’s own taxes often fall into this category. Are we not going to have enough money to pay the taxes? It may feel like we are paying too much or more than our fair share. That’s certainly unpleasant and can cause fear.
Boredom – Have we been given a task that does not interest us? When we are faced with something that does not interest us we can find thousands of reasons not to start and find other things we would rather be doing.
Overwhelm – Is your to-do list too long? Are you feeling like this task is something that you will never be able to complete. Being overwhelmed can stifle us. We can get frozen by what lies ahead.
Apathy – Lack of interest may be the reason you cannot finish a task. You may not ever want to do the task, it does not mean you can just not do it. If you don’t want to do something you can often find endless ways to put it off. Maybe you can live without it ever being done? Maybe someone else will do it?
Strategies for avoiding and overcoming procrastination.
Break the task into pieces or chunks – If something feels overwhelming, it may be easier if we break it into easier-to-tackle pieces and parts. Maybe only work on the task for 5 minutes at a time. You may find that it starts to snowball and you can make real progress faster than you expected.
Establish short deadlines – Don’t give yourself too much time to get a task done. Make your deadlines attainable without giving yourself time to put the task off again and again.
Reward yourself – Give yourself a prize or treat for getting a task done. What motivates you? What would you rather be doing than the task? Allow yourself to do those things after you have completed what needs to get done.
Schedule specific time for the task – Later will never get it done. Write in your calendar when you are going to do it. Keep this time blocked off and guard the time fiercely.
Change your environment – Maybe the office isn’t the best place to get this task finished. Brannon often gets away to the coffee shop to work on projects that really need his concentration. It’s a great time of year to sit outside and get away from the distractions in the office.
Ask for help – Maybe there is a part of your task that someone might have some expertise in. Is there something that you can’t do or don’t know about? It might be time to ask an expert for input or help. Getting some help may make everything seem easier and more doable.
In the interest of full disclosure. This blog post was turned in immediately before it was due and I am now rewarding myself with a pedicure.