It’s happened again. We think we are going to finally get our work done at a reasonable hour within a reasonable time, but instead we spent our time doing something else that we thought would be a little more fun and we find ourselves trying to get that project done at the last hour at a very rushed pace. This probably is not our first procrastination rodeo and we are determined to stay up as late as possible to get the project done.
If you are anything like me, procrastination is something that you have struggled with all your life. We know that we need to get it done, but there are other more fun things that we would rather be doing so we continue to put off doing it until the last-minute. The two big problems are that first, it causes a lot of extra stress on ourselves and those people we live with. When forced to put all our focus on getting the thing done, the people around us suffer because we can’t give them the attention they deserve and need from us. We can also get very short-tempered with those around us when the pressure rises with an impending deadline that has become nearly impossible to reach. The second problem is that the quality of our work suffers when we wait until the last-minute. We have a tendency to focus on quantity of work so we can get it done instead of the quality of the work we are doing. Part of doing quality work is allowing yourself time to go back and review the work you have done, bounce ideas off of other people, rethink and possibly edit what you have done to end up with a better end product. When we procrastinate and do everything at the last second, it eliminates being able to do those things.
Procrastination has always been there as a constant companion in my life. There were things that I needed to do, but I just dreaded doing them so I would find almost anything else to do so I could avoid having to do them in a timely manner. I figured that if I procrastinated, the overall time I would end up spend working on that thing would be less. This was often true, but the result was that the quality of my work suffered. My full potential was never reached when I had procrastinated.
With age and some added wisdom, I have become better about not procrastinating. I will sometimes find that I even get to work on the project and get it done way before I need to get it done. Some of my best work is done when I have the discipline to do that. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and I still find that there are some things that I am still very apt to procrastinating.
Procrastination is something that hits us in every stage of our lives. We procrastinate cleaning our room when we are a child. We procrastinate studying for that big test in college. We procrastinate writing that report in our adult working lives. We procrastinate mowing the lawn when we are retired.
Here are three things we can do to help us fight the procrastination bug:
This sounds like a no-brainer, but give yourself a deadline. Better yet, take the big task and break it down into several smaller tasks and assign deadlines to each of these smaller tasks. This will make the thing you have to do seem not as imposing. If you are in college and you have a final coming up or an essay due, try devoting a small portion of your time each day to sit down and write or study. These small sessions will seem much less imposing. This will save you lots of time and stress.
Pick the part of the day when you’re the most productive and try to do your work during that time. Your focus will be the greatest during this time so your work during these times will be better overall and more productive. When I was in college, my best time to get stuff done was late at night. With age, I have actually switched. Now my most productive time is very early in the morning. Just know yourself and adapt accordingly. When you are focused, it is much easier to work.
No Fun Until it’s Done
Here is a new flash: there will always be more fun things to do. The key is to develop your discipline so you can get it done. When you are in college and you have something that needs to get done, will you have the discipline to tell your friends that you will meet them out later after you complete your work? Do you find that your smart phone is constantly buzzing with new updates and texts from friends? Will you have the discipline to turn off your phone until you get your work completed? Odds are that when there is nothing grabbing for your attention, you’ll turn your attention to getting your work done.
We all struggle with procrastination at times. The key is to not let procrastination run your life and turn you into something you’re not and your work into something less than your best. Let’s challenge ourselves to put some of these tips into action so that we can avoid procrastination in our lives.