A 4-Step Plan for Tackling Procrastination Right Now
If you look at your own day, you’ll find that there are jobs that you enjoy doing, and there are jobs you dread and want to put off.
Some people absolutely love doing the numbers in their business. Others hate it, and put it off doing their tax returns, for instance, to the last possible day.
There are some people who just adore the tech side of tweaking their website. Others? Not so much.
What procrastination looks like
So, how do you manage those jobs that lead you to procrastination?
Here’s what usually happens:
you look at it, then don’t make a start.
You see reminders - maybe a note or a message from someone that makes you think: “I really have to get to this”
Then you put it off.
Then, one day, you make a start.
Then you hit a hitch. You need more information. Or someone has to get back to you. Or the technology is just too hard.
Eventually, you hit a hard deadline. You’re stressed, because what should have been a simple enough job has now become urgent.
And you’re feeling guilty, because it was your procrastination that made it urgent.
Managing procrastination starting today
There’s a better way to manage procrastination. And no, it doesn’t involve telling you: “just do it!”
Here’s what works for me.
Identify the painful task that you’re avoiding. (Get as creative as you like, here. Emotion is going to be your friend.)
Paint the dream of having this done. Once again, get emotional and very specific. Think of the relief you’ll have once this is out of the way. Think of what happens when you’ve finished this. And what a waste of nervous energy it would be if you keep hitting that “Procrastinate!” button.
List the first tiny step you need to take to fix this. Make it as small as possible. Don’t make it: “write the proposal.” Make it, “book a time in my calendar to write the proposal.”
Identify what might get in the way of that first tiny step.
This method works for anything. If you find it doesn’t then revisit the four steps and get more specific. Is the description of your dream specific enough?
Is the first tiny step, small enough? (It might be as simple as “look up a phone number.”)
Procrastination is expensive. It’s a drain on your time. It’s a drain emotionally. But it can be managed.
Procrastination means that your day is driven by someone else’s deadlines, and by interruptions. Facing the task at hand begins by taking the first tiny step.