We’re going to start our blog on procrastination by doing a little procrastination of our own.
Take the following short, fun quiz to see what kind of procrastinator you are.
When confronted with a large, complex task you:
A. Get down on it immediately because having too much on your plate makes you anxious
B. Start thinking about ways to tackle the project by making lists
C. Put it out of your head completely. No point worrying about something that’s due a month away
A. Paint the living room two weeks before the big day
B. Clean your house as usual, buy fresh flowers and a prime roast of beef the day before their arrival
C. Order in
At work, colleagues describe your work style as:
A. Diligent but uptight
B. Conscientious and fair
C. Reasonable but a little flaky and unreliable
If you answered mostly As, you need to procrastinate more or at least relax a bit. Mostly Bs means you’re well balanced in the procrastination department. Mostly Cs tells us it’s time to curb your procrastinating because it’s annoying others.
People procrastinate for a swarm of reasons. Some say it’s simply habit, a product of how we were raised. While others think it’s a clear sign of mental health issues such as depression.
Do you procrastinate because you’re a perfectionist? Are you afraid of failure? Do you get easily distracted?
Here are some helpful suggestions to stop you from your delay tactics:
Time to jump in – literally. Stop thinking and start doing needs to be your new mantra. By over thinking and attempting to dream up the perfect plan you’re putting off the inevitable. Perhaps you’re trying to protect yourself from the pain of failure. Stop it and get on with your life, your projects, your...whatever.
Connected to this is the tendency for the procrastinator to really blow things out of proportion. By putting things off, you end up magnifying the task at hand, making a mountain out of an ant hill and imagining that it’s much worse than it is. Do something, anything. The first step is difficult but attempting it is big because it prompts acceptance and looking forward to the second step and so on.
To help you meet deadlines at a pace other than breakneck, set deadlines or mini deadlines for the completion of something. For instance, with housework, try assigning one reasonably doable task in an afternoon rather than several different tasks that add up to a monumental job. Get the vacuuming done as opposed to the whole house top to bottom.
Large complex tasks need to be broken down into smaller more manageable segments. Attempt each separately. When trying to tackle a larger project, parse it out into smaller blocks of work. Instead of attempting four hours of dreaded paperwork, break it down into one-hour slots. Be sure to take a break after each block of time and perhaps even treat yourself with a latte.
When trying to take on a large and complex project, always start with the easiest part. That will make your introduction to the project that much easier and enjoyable.
Use the friends and family approach by making yourself accountable to them for completing a project. Looking to a trusted friend who can offer encouragement and support is another way to motivate you to get the job done.
Because we are so hyper-connected these days it can be hard to turn down the volume but that’s a must if you’re a diehard procrastinator who gets easily distracted. No TVs, radios, iPods because they’re job is to divert your attention. Reward yourself later with the X-Box.
As difficult as it is to start a project, remember also to finish it. There is nothing like completing a task, no matter how small, to earn you a sense of accomplishment.