Do You Have The Procrastination Bug?

How does procrastination show up in your life?  Do you delay doing something for no obvious reason?  We all know that to optimize our productivity we need to focus on completion.

There is a double problem to procrastination:

–First, we are not doing what we want or need to do.

–Second, this awareness makes our lives more stressful because we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Why do you procrastinate?

Procrastination exists because of habits or beliefs we have about something.  Here are some reasons people procrastinate.  Do you see yourself in any of these points?

–Procrastination occurs because of disorganization.  How did you learn to organize, or did you?  For some it takes more effort to learn, but most people can learn to organize.  Disorganization takes a lot of energy in your mind, so it leaves less time and energy to handle the many tasks that come into your life.

–What about that big project?  Does the amount of work involved overwhelm you?  Do you find it challenging to start?

–Fear triggers procrastination.  Afraid that you can’t do something, you delay facing the task.

–Do you start something new before completing a previous task?  When you have too many open items, you can become overwhelmed and not be able to move forward towards completion on any one of them.

Some ideas to avoid procrastination

There are a lot of good online and hard copy organizers.  Find one that suits your lifestyle and start organizing your ‘to do’ list.  Add the special occasions and mark out time for yourself. 

–If you want to learn how to organize, find a teacher to guide you or buy a book on organizing.  It’s powerful to take charge of your life and learn how to create what’s important to you. 

–List the ways that you are already organized in your life.  This allows you to acknowledge the organization skills you already have in place.  You can use these skills to organize other areas of your life. 

–Plan relaxation time in your calendar.  Taking time to play with family and friends, or wander and explore, is important in our lives.  Refreshing and refueling your energy with relaxation time allows you to have more energy to tackle the action items on your list. 

–You need to create a master “To Do” list.  Put everything down that you feel you need to do.  Write down all the tasks, ideas, wants and desires that you have and stop carrying them around in your head.  They say when you write it down you have a better chance of actually doing what you want or letting go of what’s no longer important.

–After you have captured all those “need to do items” that clog your brain, put them to the acid test.  Ask yourself “Is this something I actually need to do?  If so, what level of priority?  Is it ‘very important’ or ‘nice to do’?”  You can’t do everything in one day, but you can prioritize what needs to be done in a day.  Start slow, select your top 3 action items, and just work on them.

–Outline a big project and break it down to small components.  Create deadlines for each task.  Be realistic here, otherwise you will just continue to overwhelm yourself.  The magic number is 3 action items that you are committed to doing in a given day.  The action items can be very small.

–Link the task that you are performing with your overall goal.  Keep in mind what you will gain on the successful completion of the task, and this is likely to keep you involved in your task.

–Find a buddy to share your goals and create specific timeframes for completion.  It will help you stay focused on the goal and complete it within that time.  A buddy is a great way to keep your promises to yourself.

–Begin with that thing you hate the most about the task, and commit to doing it for 15 minutes only.  Then see what happens.

–After you have completed your 3 action items, plan a small celebration to recognize your accomplishments.  Some ideas for a celebration are a warm bath, time to talk with a friend, read a book, and any small way that creates a warm feeling of success to your day.

At the end of the day, reflect on what you have done.  You may accomplish all that you wanted or some of your action items.  What’s important here is to acknowledge your efforts towards organization.

Organization doesn’t mean that we aren’t spontaneous; rather you are setting the direction of your life.  There are opportunities that arise in the day that can add value to your life and you may decide to change priorities.  The focus is to start tackling the tasks you want to complete in your life…or let them go because you are not interested in them.  Free yourself up by organizing what is most important in your life.

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This Year I Will…: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True by M. J. Ryan.  The author urges readers to switch from “why” thinking to “what could be possible” thinking.   This is so important to change.  Just looking at the book cover tells it all….

8 Responses to “Do You Have The Procrastination Bug?”

  • genny Says:

    Thanks for a great article. I must say in the past procastination was a major challenge for me, but I am getting better at it,and your article has given me additional tips, I can right now feel that I will accomplish all that i have in my to do list.

    Thanks

  • SimplyForties Says:

    Great article. Procrastination is a big problem for me and, as I work from home, a real challenge to overcome!

  • Pat Says:

    Genny
    It’s great that you recognize that you are getting better at it. You are letting go of old images of yourself. Thanks for sharing.
    Pat

  • Pat Says:

    SimplyForties

    I understand the challenges of working from home…there are no external demands motivating you to get something done. You are the boss.

    There are two things that work for me. First, deciding what needs to be done. Second, focusing on the top 3 ‘must do’ action items today and focusing on completion of them.

    If you need to be around people in order to get your work done, go to the local coffee shop with your laptop. I have a friend who found that to be the perfect solution for her. Each person has different stimulation levels and there is no one way to solve a procrastination issue.

    Listen to yourself and find solutions that work best for you.

    Pat

  • Denise Poynter Says:

    This article was great for me, I am the best at proscrastinating, so much so, I did not get around to wishing all the Busy Mom’s, staff and reader’s a Merry Xmas and a great new year for 2009. I want to thank you for all your great articles especially this one, breaking things down into the top 3 priorities is good advice. Our womens’ group is going very well, lots of caring, sharing and love. Your nine steps to starting a group was a wonderful help. Love Denise

  • Pat Says:

    Denise

    I’m glad your group is going very well. Karen & I gained a lot from our experiences in the women’s group.

    If you have topics that the women in your group liked, let me know. I’m going to update my list of topics that I created several months ago.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Pat

  • Laura Lopez Says:

    Great advice, I have that problem, I feel that big project scare me. I will get a book on organizational. Thanks, Laura

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