Procrastination. It’s the black-eyed monster that none of us can actually manage to avoid. The bump in the road gleefully looking for new victims. The Toon Town cement wall that hops around at will, just waiting for unsuspecting passersby.
The question isn’t whether or not you procrastinate. I think all of us have put off a project or a paper or an errand indefinitely at some point or another. Since it usually isn’t nice enough to go away, however, we end up dealing with it sooner or later.
Usually at 2 am. When the project’s due by 9.
Deadlines are great motivators, but there’s something to be said for cutting the stress out of the equation. With that in mind, here are 5 quick and easy steps to kick procrastination to the curb!
1) Keep your to-do list short. My to-do list stretches across at least three sheets of paper on any given day. Staring at that too long is enough to give me hives…and the uncontrollable urge to crawl back into bed and play sick until it goes away. Break your list down into small, bite-sized pieces. Figure out what you HAVE to do today and put it on top. When you’re done with that, THEN start adding more to the list.
2) Learn to take projects in small bites. “Design, proof, print and distribute 50,000 flyers” isn’t a small bite. But that’s often what ends up written on the to-do list. Break it down. Do the writing, then the graphics (or vice versa). Then do your edits. View the proof. Print. Small bites help you get it done without feeling like it’s all about to crash down on your head!
3) Get started first thing in the morning. It’s easy to dawdle over that first cup of coffee. The sooner you get started, however, the sooner you’ll get in the groove and the sooner it’s going to get done. So dig in instead of spending an hour or two pondering over your email. As a matter of fact…
4) Decide when you’re going to be checking your messages. If it’s not time, don’t do it. Email, telephone and random people at the door can suck hours at a time. By the time you’re done, your day is gone and you haven’t scratched a thing off of your list.
5) Learn to say no. Procrastination happens most often when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Take a good, hard look at your project list. Is it made up of things you want/have to do, or is it full of things you just couldn’t say no to?
Trim your list, take it in small bites and learn to “just do it”. Procrastination will go flying out the window in no time.