Procrastination: “the action of delaying or postoning something”. We all do it. Sometimes we postpone activities which has less priority, sometimes we postpone more important tasks.
Tim Urban in his TED speech brings us closer to a pocrastrinator mind.
We tend to feel more pressure when the deadline is close to us and we seem to be more efficient. Are we? And if so, does it really worth it? The stress, the nervousness of last minute changes, late nights spent over the pc. Definitely not worth it. So what can you do to avoid procrastination? I found some useful tips on Mindtools about how to face with procrastination.
The first step is to admit to yourself that you tend to procrastinate and recognize when you do it. Don’t mix it with the normal task scheduling. There’s a thin line between consciously postponing a task and between procrastination. Only if you are truly honest to yourself, you will know what is you’re dealing with.
Asking why we do certain activities is really exciting and important. So think about it. Why do you procrastinate that specific task? If you understand the root causes of it you can come up with a solution.
Typical Reasons for Procastination
We tend to postpone the tasks which we don’t feel like doing. It could be the real reason of procrastination however it could be useful to dig a little bit deeper. Is it unpleasant because you don’t know how to do it? Do you want to do it perfectly? It could be really just an unpleasant task for example some administrative tasks for me. In these cases the first step is accepting that you need to do that task. Schedule time to do it and be strong. Keep in mind your energy level and think on the negative consequences. What will happen if you do not perform your task?
Sometimes the task seems too big for us and we procrastinate it because it’s too overwhelming. Ask for help in advance, schedule time to break the big task into smaller action steps just like you do with your big goals.
Lack of knowledge
It is strongly related to the second point, the task could be too overwhelming because you do not have the needed knowledge for it. You can ask for help any time, or start working on the task with brainstorming. But you need to plan in advance. Planning is the key for successful time management.
While some people struggle to achieve a high performance, others strive too much and they want to do everything perfectly. You need to accept that it is ok to make mistakes, even factories calculate with mistaken pieces for production, so you, human being can also make mistakes. Keep in mind your priorities and big rocks. You do not need to be perfect all the time. Ask for guidance about the expected level and achieve only that.
Planning how to reward yourself is a very important step of goal setting as well. A reward can be anything you find rewarding spending your time in a special way alone or with others, buying something whatever you want. Try to find the balance between the difficulty of the task and the reward you create for yourself.
Not later now
I’ve heard about not later now method from Imre Limpár. It means whenever you want to say, I’ll do it later, you do it immediately. You do it not later but now. Of course this won’t work for the bigger projects which require time. But it will work for the smaller tasks. If you break your big projects into smaller tasks, you’ll progress. The only thing you need for this method is your will to do the task.
Putting everything into practise
I use all the methods mentioned above when I start to feel that I procrastinate something. I always think on first why I do it. In most of the cases it’s an unpleasant administrative task. So when I realize I have something on my to do list for a while, I allocate time in my calendar for it. If it is a regular task it’s better to do it in small pieces like 10 minutes a day. A reminder pops up on my screen and I leave it there until I finish. Usually it’s so annoying that I rather finish the task.
Before trying out any techniques, just make sure your to do list is aligned with your long term goals and values. Remember that change takes time, be patient to yourself, one small change a day will take you closer to your goals. Contact me if you need more help to manage your tasks.
* Cover photo: icon0.com on Pexels