When does reality cease to be the point and procrastination take over to keep you from simply taking action on the mundane or complex tasks that bore or scare you? What are you making up about how awful they are going to be anyway? Whether it’s making the bed or making the sales calls, we all spend more time each day avoiding the action than it would take to complete the task. Humans are funny that way, aren’t we?
There are lots of ways to approach this issue of procrastination. Daily, awareness is the first step. Become aware of that voice pops into your head as you think about your “to do” list. What is it saying? Is it a “friend” telling you to relax, that the client report will surely wait until after you finish reviewing your email, or is the bully saying “You’re never going to get what you want anyway, so why bother making the call?” Whoever it is, politely or impolitely tell her thanks for the information, but you need to get moving. Call up that Nike adage and “Just do it!”
The top reasons for procrastination are:
Which excuse are you using? I’m pretty good at all three, and sometimes in unison. The reality is that what we resist persists. If something is truly unimportant, then cross it off the list and stop feeling guilty about it. Making the bed may fall into this category. If, however, if you like getting into a freshly made bed, then as you turn to leave the room in the morning, ask yourself “What is the cost or reward to me if I spend two minutes getting this straightened up right now?” It may be marital peace, which has its own benefits. As Brian Tracy says in his book “Eat That Frog, 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”, choose the thing that is most difficult or most dreaded and do it first.
Here are a few simple tips to stop procrastinating:
The title of this column plays off a great little book by Brian Tracy entitled “Eat That Frog, 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”. Two tips stand out. For immediate impact in your life, determine the thing on your ‘to do’ list that is most difficult or you most dread and do it first. Second, know where you are going. Create the vision and then the priorities to support them.
In the words of James Baldwin, “People ought to do what they want to do, what else are they alive for?” So, create your plans and remember to include time to savor the moments. Even frog legs are a delicacy in some cultures.