If it were an island, I would be the queen. We have all done it in some way or another. Well, most of us at least. Whether it be doing laundry, going grocery shopping, or finishing that expansive report that is due at the end of the week. Procrastination is really a Frenemy. "Who wants to do that when you could be snuggled on the couch drinking your hot pumpkin-spiced latte, watching the 10-thousand recipes on Food Network that you will never make, while rain dances on the rooftop and thunder sings a soft lullaby of sleep that is moments away?" She whispers sweet thoughts of ways to NOT do things that need to be done and doesn't have your back when your other friend, Productiveness, demands answers! What a bitch!
Usually, we all say that tomorrow is going to be different. You won't invite Procrastination over for coffee. "But we deserved a veg day," she sighs. She seems so inviting, and there are times when it is perfectly fine to play with Procrastination. And this time of year, I know, Procrastination invites herself into your life freely and willingly! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, New Years Eve, etc. You tell yourself, "oh, man, I really need to get that office cleaned." Procrastination knocks on the door and reminds you, "Pinterest has some great pins on how to make your own Thanksgiving place mats with matching Napkin Rings for only $1.00 each!" She seems so sweet, but like mentioned above, she is really a bitch. She doesn't care if you have a closet full of crap that needs to be thrown away before the Fire Department flags your house as a fire hazard. She doesn't care that pet hair is woven into your carpet so bad that you forgot the carpet color is really white. And she certainly doesn't care if you needed to finish up those taxes from last year because the extension deadline is coming up in a couple of days!!!
Here is what we need to do: Kick her out of the club! At least until your other friend Productiveness has had a chance to leave her mark too. Procrastination is probably one of my best friends, but not by choice. I always feel nothing but guilt when she leaves, which makes me overwhelmed and disoriented. She is a bad habit that I need to kick! I have some tips and ideas that have helped me put her on the sidelines until Productiveness has had a chance to win a game or two:
- Make a list!!! You can do any type of list that works best for you. Sometimes, Procrastination plays so long that you have a huge mountain under that rug in which you have been sweeping things. I suggest, in this case, to take small steps. Start off with a list of 3-6 items that you HAVE to get done that day. Once you finish one, cross it off the list.
- Make goals!!! If there are bigger goals that are time-sensitive, it is probably best that you make your list to go towards those goals. Like if you have your tax extension due in 2 days (October 15th), you probably shouldn't put a To-Do item on your list for Halloween Decorations for this week, unless it is AFTER the 15th.
- Make a do-able timeline!!! Get a calendar and mark dates. Have it in your face all the time, so that the time-table is a realistic and tangible item. It's not something that you can just hide and forget about. Make copies to put at your desk at work, the fridge, etc. Anywhere you will continuously see it.
- Work in hour-long increments!! Part of climbing that mountain is by taking breaks every now and then for water to regain your strength. Same goes with this! You would be surprised at how many things you can get done in an hour with NO distractions. Which brings me to my next pont:
- DISCONNECT!!!! Turn off your phone. Hide your Kindle. Shut the door. Sign off of Social Media. TURN OFF THE TV. I know a few people, including myself, who suddenly acquire ADD when it's time to get stuff done. Disconnect from these distractions and get IT done!
- Reward yourself!!! After you have crossed the items off your To-Do list, It's okay to play with Procrastination for a little bit. Watch that episode of Walking Dead. Pin your heart out. Make those Halloween decorations. Don't wash out the whole week. But DO give yourself small rewards. Then tomorrow start it over all again.
Yes, we all have set backs. We all have days where it just doesn't work. But in cases like that, do at LEAST 1 thing on your list. That is one last thing you have to do tomorrow.
Most of all: DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. "He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else." - Benjamin Franklin. If you don't get those taxes done, don't blame it on the cat, or that you stubbed your toe on the desk, or that you realized you needed to go get screws for your picture that you have had for 3 years and haven't hung yet.
Procrastination and Excuses are very best friends....we can't become a part of that pack, or we will never get over that mountain.