Tips for Dealing with Procrastination

The following post is from Laura of I’m an Organizing Junkie:

stuff
source: Cliph

Do You Procrastinate?

Procrastination is defined as putting off or delaying something until another day or time. I think we have all experienced procrastination in our lives at some point or another; whether we are feeling overwhelmed, time-crunched, frustrated, or bored, I don’t believe any of us are immune to it.

The difference is in how we handle procrastination when it does happen. Recognizing the pattern of occurrence and activating some clear strategies can help you get back on track to getting things done when it matters most.

Organizing Expert, Julie Morgenstern, says this about procrastination in her book, When Organizing Isn’t Enough – SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life:

When we procrastinate we don’t do high-value activities.  A procrastinator will do anything to avoid the dreaded task, sometimes even “mindless habits” like checking email, watching TV, or getting lost on the internet. Regardless of your favorite method of procrastination, it all pads your schedule with fluff.  Procrastination is all about stalling — putting off starting or finishing something out of anxiety rather than logic.  It’s also a way of making your life more difficult.”

Can You Relate?

Oh can I ever relate.  That’s exactly what I do, I search the web and waste so much time doing it “in the name of work” that I don’t actually get the real work done. Sigh.

source: Chris Blakeley

I’ve noticed that I procrastinate the most when I think I might fail. For instance, I don’t think of myself as a writer, and even after blogging all these years and writing a book, I still find the writing process difficult.  Because I recognize my lack of confidence in this area and the potential I have to stress about it, I’ve been able to triumph over this bad habit by simply adjusting my schedule.

How?

I rarely write my blog posts in advance. I always leave them until the day before — which I know just sounds like an excuse to put it off until the last minute rather than an actual strategy. However, writing my posts any earlier just gives me more time to sit and stew about it and therefore put it off anyway.

By scheduling it the day before, I know I only have a limited time which forces me to focus and get it done.  I write the post, hit publish, and that’s that. I also have a very short attention span so having this self-imposed deadline forces me to concentrate, stay on task, and (believe it or not) endure less stress in the long run.

toybox
source: Doug Aghassi

Many people procrastinate on dealing with the clutter that surrounds them. Maybe it’s because they are overwhelmed by the volume of it or simply overwhelmed with the number of decisions that need to be made. Whatever the reason, it’s possible to implement a few strategies to help you overcome this paralyzing problem.

In Julie’s book she offers six ways to break the bad habit of procrastination. Here is an excerpt of those six ways:

1. Discover your optimal times frames:

Setting aside either too much time or not enough time can make you procrastinate.

2. Choose the best time of day:

Be at your peak energy when you tackle the things you tend to procrastinate on.

3. Create bite-sized chunks:

Break overwhelming projects down into a series of smaller steps, delegate pieces you find particularly challenging.

4. Get expert guidance:

If fear of making a mistake or doing a bad job causes you to stall endlessly, run it by someone else for feedback.

5. Stop when you say you will:

Determine how long you’ll give something, and stick to it.  Set a timer.

6. Choose to make your life easy:

Putting things off until the last minute is also a way to throw unnecessary obstacles into your own path, making your life more difficult. Retrain yourself to believe things don’t have to be so hard!

frog
source: debsilver

I’d like to add one more…Eat the Frog!  This expression refers to biting the bullet and doing the least desirable chore first to get it out of the way.

It’s amazing how getting that one thing done lifts a huge weight off your shoulders and makes everything else that much easier. This one step alone has literally changed my life. If you’d like more information about it, this terrific post at Simple Mom explains how to Start Your Day By Eating a Frog.

Are you procrastinating on an organizing project? Which strategy above would help you overcome that barrier in order to achieve success?

Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing, especially containers! You can find her blogging regularly at I’m an Organizing Junkie, and is the author of, Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!
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