I struggle with procrastination. I have actually lost a lot of great opportunities by saying to myself, I’ll call latter or I‘ll do it later. For instance it’s taken almost one year to get this blog started .I set up the website, wrote my first two articles and then I started procrastinating. Had I been posting articles on a regular basis who knows where this blog could be by now.
I generally procrastinate when I don’t enjoy doing a task. I procrastinate when I feel the task is enormous and I don’t know where to start. I also procrastinate because I don’t have the discipline to seat still execute and get it done. Finally, I subconsciously procrastinate out of habit.
The greatest danger of putting away something for later is that a time comes when the opportunity closes and you miss out. I can’t remember the times I have seen an advert and told myself, “That looks like a good opportunity I should apply for”. Next time I remember about the advert, the application deadline is passed and that opportunity is gone.
Procrastination results to last minute rush and stress. Every year in June KRA puts out adverts saying “one month to go. File your tax returns”. Then the adverts change to “two weeks to go”, then “one week to go” however, I barely beat the deadline for submitting my tax returns. As a result I’m in a rush and stressed out to beat the deadline.
A series of procrastination in the work place can lead you to be labeled a “non-performer “a label that is very difficult to shake off. Procrastination also strains relationships when people are waiting on you to do something but you keep disappointing them.
To deal with procrastination I have had to first acknowledge that I procrastinate a lot and also acknowledge that procrastination has costed me a lot especially in terms of lost opportunities. Some of the opportunities that I have lost are priceless and cannot be regained. That’s the painful reality. I have devised some measures to help me deal with procrastination and I hope that they will be of help to you if procrastination is holding you back.
- If it’s possible to do it now, do it. Whenever possible do things immediately they arise. For example if an email comes in and you have all the information to reply to it, do it. Don’t tell yourself that you will do it later. Stop the habit of putting away things that you can do immediately.
- Get organized. Identify the tasks that you need to do, prioritize them, allocate time for each task and execute with religious devotion. Having a to do list will help to remember to do important tasks. Usually we procrastinate because we tell ourselves we will do it later then genuinely forget about the task only to remember when it’s too late. Having a to do list that is on your face reminding you of pending task will help keep you on track.
- Be disciplined. Many times we procrastinate because we don’t feel like doing the task at hand. We simply loathe the task and keep finding reasons not to do it. Discipline means doing the tasks we ought to do regardless of our feelings. There is no way to overcome procrastination without developing discipline. Try to focus on the bigger picture beyond the task perhaps this will give you motivation to start and complete the task.
- Set deadlines. Put strict time limits when you need to complete tasks. Avoid having tasks with open ended time frames .Say I need to send that proposal by Tuesday 5pm rather than leave it open ended.
- Rest after work not before. I know this sounds funny. Don’t tell yourself let me relax, or do something else more relaxing then I will start on my project. Your likely to spend most of your time and energy relaxing that you eventually don’t complete your project. Rest after work not before. Start your day with the hard boring project and relax latter after you’re done.
I hope this helps.