I used to just crastinate… then I went pro!
I have always left things to do at the last possible minute. Back to school shopping, holiday shopping (reminder – start your lists soon!) coming up with meal plans for the week, writing a paper in college, starting an exercise program – even writing a blog post – There are some mottos I have always lived by – “I work best under pressure” – “I just have too much to do – until I absolutely HAVE to do it, I am not touching it” – “It’ll get done, it always does”.
While, yes, it will get done, I can’t help but think how much better a job I’d have done if I’d begun the task when I first knew about it. Procrastinating until the last minute leaves no time for any pre-work or changes in strategy or direction, if needed – and not all ideas roll off the tongue – or pen – or keyboard – at the moment you’re ready to start the work. And while Amazon can deliver things in 2 days, not everything on Amazon is eligible – and printing a picture of a great holiday gift with a “coming soon” is so tacky, right?
Taking into consideration the amount of time I work myself up to start whatever the task may be, feeling like I should be starting – but pushing it off, again, and again – the amount of energy spent on the stress and procrastination probably would have been better spent actually STARTING the task at hand.
So what can we do to reduce the stress and get the job done with time to spare?
- The first step is to admit you have a problem. Admit the fact that giving a task more time and attention will inevitably produce a better result!
- Write it down – including when you plan on completing the task. Putting it on paper will help you visualize the task – and when you write things down, it just feels so much more official.
- When you learn of a task, start right away. Plan out what you will need to get the task done, and create an outline/timeline that you can follow – and adhere to the plan!
- Break up the task into little parts – and set goals for yourself to complete these parts – taking into consideration which parts may be more time consuming will allow you to plan for chunks of time, so you’re not trying to get it all done at the last minute.
- If you do think of something you really need to do, just do it! Convert the stress you’re putting on yourself into energy into motivation to complete the project.
- Doesn’t it feel great when you actually complete that task you’ve been putting off? Guess what – it feels even better when you complete it with time to spare, and with the knowledge that the task got the attention it deserved!
So what are you putting off today that you could get started on? Signing up for that gym membership? Planning a trip for the near future? Holiday shopping, so you can take the time to enjoy the season? Making the decision to start writing blog posts every month? How about getting help from an expert to make your dream company website a reality?
Whatever that task or project is that keeps popping up in the back of your mind – take some time to think about it, prioritize it, flesh it out, and get it started!