Denise Landers

Article Summary:

A tip for overcoming procrastination.

Overcoming Procrastination

Time management and stress management -- is there a relationship? Lack of time may not be the only thing that creates stress for people, but it certainly ranks as one of the highest in its frequency of occurrences. Also consider another situation where stress and time are related, but not due to lack of time. Here the stress stems from simply procrastinating, even when time is available. And...if you procrastinate on enough matters, then lack of time comes back into play again.

There is an old saying that eating a live frog first thing every morning will usually make the rest of the day seem pretty easy. That frog is your biggest project--the one that will produce the results that lead to your goals. It also tends to be the one on which you are most likely to procrastinate.

Summer months are a time that people often schedule projects. Sometimes the change of pace during this season leads people to plan catch-up days both at the office and at home. In some geographical locations it is because it is too hot to be outdoors, and in other cases it might be because work slows down during this period. Think back to your past summer:

  • Did you have plans to work on tasks that you had been postponing until this time?

  • Did you plan on someone else getting things done during these month?

  • Were the chores that you had hoped to get done actually completed?

  • If not, why?

If you had jobs scheduled and did not get them done, could procrastination be an issue? It is easy to always blame lack of time, but the truth is that you often have times when you could be working on those delayed tasks and you simply put them off.

Examine some of the reasons why people procrastinate.

There is no sense of urgency.
When a task does not come with a deadline, it can be easy to postpone, but that item will still nag at you. You start feeling guilty about not getting enough done, and the accumulation of incomplete activities in turn ends up adding to your daily stress.

Solution:
Think of positive outcomes and set your own deadline.

You do not know where to begin.
The project is so large and detailed that you do not have a clear picture of the processes. It might have been fairly simple at the beginning but, by delaying, the project has now become overwhelming.

Solution:
Write down, in order, the steps that need to be taken. You are more likely to tackle a small task than commit to a large block of time. Be sure to schedule each of the steps on your calendar.

It is not where your interests or skill levels lie.
You may dislike the chore, like filing or yard work, or it could be a project that you do not know how to do and have no interest in learning. You stall for days or weeks. Then when you finally have no choice, it is even worse than you expected.

Solution:
Can you hire someone, or trade services? When you are interested in the work, you are certainly more efficient in accomplishing that task. If it is something you hate to do, try to find an alternative rather than allowing it to loom.

Do not let that frog get away for the day. Instead, leap right in, deal with the frog early in the morning and then jump to the next task. After all, eating that frog is often the means of providing you with your bread and butter.

Denise Landers, productivity trainer, organizing specialist, author of Destination: Organization and owner of Key Organization Systems, Inc. has spent years speaking, training, consulting, and coaching on the topics of time management and effective workflow. To find easy ways to prioritize, focus and improve your team productivity, subscribe for free monthly articles on time management and organizing topics at: Keyorganization.com.

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