Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Combat Procrastination

The P word. The one that is constantly standing in your way of success, making it difficult to get anything accomplished while also keeping you feeling scattered and lost. Yes, that horrible, awful mental beast...procrastination.

His best friend is dilly-dally and he is easily manipulated by his rotten cousin laziness. Once you entertain him for even a second, suddenly you are stressed, racing to get things done and wishing you had just tackled the task in the beginning. 

Now as long standing member of the APTF (Anti Procrastination Task Force), I can assure you it is possible to battle this pesky hinderance and get ahead. It took me a good chunk of my life to figure it out (18 years to be exact), but once I hit college and was able to completely control my priorities, I became a master at fighting procrastination.

As I learned in college, it is better to get things done far in advance then wait until the last second. While my roommates/sorority sisters were cramming for exams and trying to bang out papers at all hours for the night I was always sittin' pretty. I wanted to "get it done" as my Geena always said and preferred to knock out as much as the syllabus for each class as humanely possible from day one. I prepared for midterms weeks in advance and got a jump on every assignment only so I could discuss my drafts with my professors.

Go ahead, let your eyes roll and call me a brown noser...but I was the one who was getting straight A's and still managing to kill it on the social circuit. And it was all due to my ability to work as hard as I played...starting with my non-procrastination skills.

Now, let's see how to get started...

  • Get organized.  Figure out what you need to do. Closets having a hard time closing due to massive amounts of crap? Take note. Emails piling up so fast you can't respond? Take note. Anything that needs to get done should get noticed and noted.
  • Write it down. All those notes you just took? Write them down. I tend to appreciate a nice stationary, but if you are more of a scratch paper/day timer girl, then great. Whatever works for your brain, just make that list...as long as it may be...
  • Prioritize. What needs to get done right away? What can wait a day but is quickly approaching. I always did this with assignments and continue to do it with my daily tasks/professional commitments. If you prioritize what needs to get done in immediate order in addition to evaluating time commitments, it is easy to start knocking things off the list. And boy, does that feel good. 
  • Tackle the small stuff. Isn't it amazing how all those tiny, five minute tasks add up and make you feel like the walls are closing in on you? This is my life. Laundry needing to be folded, yet another load folded but needing to be put away. Dishes in the sink from snack time, mail on the counter gone unopened. My stomach hurts just thinking of that scenario. This is the point where you could walk away, or pull up those big girl panties and get 'er done. In about 15 minutes or less you will have all those little clutter-causing activities behind you and ready to tackle a bigger, more time consuming project...like doing your blog posts for the week...
  • Make a plan. Once you have the small things done and are ready to take on bigger tasks (yes, I am talking to you, the one glancing at that guest room door that always stays closed as it has become a dumping ground of clutter) the time is now. Brainstorm what you need to get started. Storage bins? Buy them. Garbage bags? Grab them. Playlist for motivation? Create it. Whatever it is you need to get the job done, get it out, in plain sight and pump yourself up.
  • Get off your lazy butt and do it. There is an excuse for eeeevvvveeerrryyyttthhhiiinnnnggg. "Oh, I am so tiiired" (say in a whiny annoying voice). "Oh, there is just too much to do right now", "Oh, Oh my, I just can't". Get it alllllll out. All those reasons why you can't, go ahead and purge yourself. Visualize how great you will feel when it is DONE. All the time you will have to dedicate to things that you want to do rather than be bogged down with things you need to do. The hardest part is getting started, but go down that list, put a huge LINE  through everything you get done and watch that list get smaller and smaller until it is only filled with things being crossed off. 
  • Rejoice in your victory. You did it! Even if it is something super tiny, rejoice. You made that happen. Now..on to the next one, on to the next. When something comes your way that needs to be done get started right away before it grows into that big, scary, unapproachable beast that only seems to respond to you pushing it out of your mind...letting that even worse monster procrastination take hold. Neeevvaahhhh!!!
It's a new year and the time is now. So, what will you tackle today?

Strive to thrive, 

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