Tip #108 – Procrastination
Procrastination is an art form that most of us have mastered (I would be considered a grand master) and rarely take the time to look at the reasons why we do it. Perhaps it is because it can be easier to put difficult things aside or you can get lost in doing the things that don’t matter first and forgetting about what is really important. What I am beginning to learn is that when you put off the things that matter, life gets harder and you spend less time doing the things that are important to you and more time on trivial, unimportant things that won’t improve the quality of mine or my family’s life.
I will spend over an hour watching some ridiculously awful TV show (It was ‘Dating in the Dark’ tonight – people date in the dark and decide if they like each other.) when there are so many other things I could have been doing – sorting out my closets so that I can find clothes for work without having to spend frustrating extra minutes in what is already a ‘time short morning’ or catching up with an old friend or getting some extra sleep to make me more human for the rest of my family.
Tips for avoiding procrastination:
* Make a list of the things that you have to do and then highlight the ones that are important to you and need to be done to make your lives easier and happier
* Look at all of the things you do in a day and think about what ones actually make your life harder or don’t add anything to your lives and set a goal of getting rid of one per week/month (This month I am getting rid of watching 2 TV shows).
* Do what you love. I try to do what I love for at least 60% of the day and only 40% of the day is taken up with things that I have to do or don’t really love but know will make life better for everyone in the long run.
* Decide to take on a task that you have been avoiding and then write down a list of all the things that you need to do to accomplish it. Just check them off one by one.
* Realize that there will never be enough time to do all of the things that you want to do, think you should do or other people think/want you to do. Then ask yourself which things you can live with never getting to.
* Make sure that the things you are doing in your immediate future often contribute to your long term goals
* Look at what the consequences of what avoiding doing the task – that is often a huge motivator (I don’t often think of what will happen if I don’t do it).
* Find out how you will be able to measure your progress when doing something. How will you know you have been successful? Who will tell me? How will I know when I am done?
* Create deadlines and time lines for yourself and try to stick closely to them so the task(s) don’t drag on forever (it can get discouraging otherwise)
* Be realistic about your time and what you can accomplish. Look at how long something will take and what time you have in your day/week/month
It is easy to procrastinate when your family member is away or in a dangerous situation and get lost in the ‘poor me’ or ‘I deserve to do nothing for awhile, it is all I can handle’ – I have done it many times! At the time, it may feel easier but it isn’t. Make sure that you don’t put off things that may be challenging initially but ultimately bring you long and lasting happiness. I really believe that it is important to tackle things head on, prioritize and do things that will help you achieve your goals or dreams rather than wasting time doing things that aren’t important or significant to your family’s or your life.