Psychologist professor Clarry Lay calls procrastination a “temporal gap between intended behavior and enacted behavior.” In other words, there’s a (l-o-n-g) time gap between you realizing what a diva’s gotta do and the actual doing. We are all familiar with the concept, putting off until tomorrow what we can do today and all that jazz. Maybe you get “distracted” as I often do by way more fun unimportant tasks. Everyone procrastinates sometimes, however if you consistently procrastinate, how do you break the habit?
Try these simple steps for more effective time management:
Call a spade a spade. Be honest - most of you know when you’re doing it. If you truly are a clueless diva, here are some ways you can tell...
-Completing low priority tasks first.
-Waiting for the “right mood” to hit before you begin (case in point: I’m never in
the “mood to sweep the floor, nor will I EVER BE! I constantly “wait til I feel like it with this... meanwhile, the floor gets worse and worse!)
-Beginning the task at hand, and then immediately getting up to go do something
else. (Coffee, anyone?)
-Leaving an important task on your list even though you know it’s important.
-Saying yes to other things (I’d love to go to that movie with you!) instead of concentrating on what you need to do (organizing your tax receipts for your accountant).
The all important question: Why? Figure out your reasons! Is the task seemingly insurmountable? Is it boring and tedious? Are you exhausted? Does your life feel chaotic? Do you feel unorganized? Are you afraid you won’t be able to do it right? Are there decisions to be made before you can complete your task?
I bid you, fight! Each of the above excuses reasons (and all other ones we think we can come with, divas!) have an antidote, I promise! So before you go into tizzy and think you’ll never break free, try these things!!
-Tackling an insurmountable task: break it down into smaller goals. Utilize a goal setting sheet to help with this...ask me to email you one if you don't have one readily available. Ask for help, if you’ve got some friends (or a hubby! :-) who may be willing.
-Approaching a boring/tedious chore: Put on some energizing music and be like Nike: just do it! Give yourself a 5 minute break every 30 minutes or so to do something “fun.” Use a timer, though, so you really only take 5!
-Handling exhaustion: This one is tricky with the pace of modern day lives. So, it’s best to give yourself one - only one - out for exhaustion. Take a nap if you must, or if it’s late, take the whole night, and come back to the task first thing the next day. This time, though, you’ve got to put on your School Marm voice and sternly tell yourself to get it done and over with.
-Facing the music amidst chaos/disorganization: deliberately plan a space of time in your day to do the deed. Write it in pen in your calender, and guard that time against encroaching social engagements or anything else that may pop up. When the golden hour comes, concentrate fully on the task, spending the first five to ten minutes planning how you will achieve the goal. Then work it like it’s worth it until your allotted time is up! If you don’t get a chance to finish, do the same thing either later that day or the next day until you get’er done.
-Cleverly finding “something else that needs done first”: Allow 15 minutes to complete the minutiae before you begin your task. Go potty, get your coffee,
water, tea, take the dog out, plug your phone in, etc. so that when you sit down to work, you can! If your inner child rebels and thinks of something else that’s yet to be done, write it down and come back to it after you’ve concluded the job.
-The perfect is the enemy of the good! We are all humans. Sadly, humans all make mistakes. Give yourself permission to be a human, and if you make a mistake it’s ok! It can be fixed. Don’t let this stop you from achieving your goals!
-Decision Making: If you’re having a hard time with this, sit down with a pen and paper and list all possible choices you have. Then, think of pros and cons to each one. Pick the best choice and move on to doing the task at hand.
Keep in mind that procrastination is often a deeply ingrained habit and isn’t likely to resolve in a day. But put in the time and effort to change this way of life, and you’ll reap the rewards! I’m going to get started - right after I finish my coffee!