For some reason, over the past few weeks I have been managing to put things off! Time sensitive things….not the usual getting the laundry done a day late or such.
It lead me to think a little bit about procrastination and why We do it.
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James
Indeed! In this past 2-3 weeks I had the need to make plane reservations, make reservations for my Sweet Puppy to go to boarding for the holiday, pay one bill via telephone, and complete a poster for work.
None of that was insurmountable. In fact, most of it was quite easy. The poster being the most challenging because I had to digest some information into poster sized bits and then actually create it. So, why was all of that suddenly so difficult that it took em several weeks to accomplish?
I delved into the subject just a little. it appears that chronic procrastinators make up about 15-20% of the general population. This surprised me as I would have though it to be more. The article that cites 15-20% also states that procrastinators tend to have issue with impulse control, and tend to be of the “live for today” type of personality. I found that interesting as I am not an impulsive person. I actually am the opposite of impulsive. I will ponder a purchase of something large for quite a while, and have practiced the belief that if one can not afford something, there is no reason to purchase it on credit. I don’t smoke, or overeat. I’m a guilty of running overmuch…hmm.
So, looking at that, perhaps I am not one of those chronic procrastinators. maybe I am just an Occasional one.
In looking around some more, I found this article by BusinessTown.com to fit the bill more appropriately.
It lists 5 reasons why people put things off.
* We have not really committed to the task.
* Fear of the task itself
* The task itself is of Low Priority to you
* We don’t know enough to actually complete the task.
*We just plain don’t want to do it!!!
These reasons seem to be more along the line of an occasional procrastinator.
For example, with the bill that I needed to pay, it was overdue because of an issue with my electronic password. I had tried a few times to get the password fixed, but finally got fed up and asked for a paper bill, which I will get next month. This month’s bill though still had to be paid. I was not afraid of making the call, and I do know how to use a telephone. I just simply did not want to spend all that time on hold again just to give them some money. Of course, it hung on my mind so much that I eventually forced myself to get it done. Not surprisingly, after this, I felt much better.
In boarding the Dog…I put it off for two reasons; firstly I could not decide exactly when I wanted to take him and secondly, once I decided I started to worry that there was not a spot for him in the kennel. Now…it would seem that calling would allow me to know. But, I knew the minute I found there was no kennel spot I would have to start looking for a new Kennel. That would have been a hassle. Of course, calling in earlier November would have reduced this problem greatly. As it turned out, there was a spot, and we are all set. Another huge relief.
In making the poster for work. I will admit it was not a high priority for me. I did the research and knew what I wanted the poster to say. At that point I sort of stopped. I was not sure my Manager really wanted it, or if I was just doing busy work. Once she asked me about it again, I got it done in 3 days. It has been found in another study
when procrastinators do cram to finish the work, they work at a dizzying pace. “They work almost 11 times the average rate. Real procrastinators, just before the deadline, are mercurial,”
So, it was pretty easy to get done. I was not thrilled with it as it was not extremely beautiful. I do realize now though that I lack some tools to make things beautiful- most notable being a printer in my home.
So the upshot of all of this stuff being taken care of in a 3 days period, after me thinking about it for about 3-4 weeks…is that I slept exceedingly well last night.
I really should learn to take care of this stuff as it comes, rather than holding on to it.
There are many helpful tips regarding procrastination. Here are some of the biggies that are mentioned time and time again.
* break down a large task into smaller concrete steps.
* If faced with multiple things, start with the hardest/easiest first (depends on what type of person you are I suppose!) I’m a “worst first” type!
* Create a To-do list that is physical and cross off the tasks as you do them
* Create accountability for each task…give yourself someone to answer to other than yourself.
It seems that not all of these techniques work all of the time. But there is one that seems to trump them all, and it is the basic….
JUST DO IT!!!!!
when I finally get to the point, where I just sit down and get it done, nothing feels better!
How do you procrastinate? Is it one thing each time (like the bills?), or does it hit you seasonally? What are your best tips for Getting things done?