Stress. Are You Making It Worse By Putting Things Off?
Procrastination. Not a very attractive sounding word. Not a very attractive habit either, if you’re prone to stress.
While you’re investing time and energy in putting things off, your stress levels can go through the roof! Think it doesn’t take effort to procrastinate? Think of all the things you do to avoid doing what you should be doing. I know I’m doing it as soon as I find myself doing housework! Even though you know you need to get off your backside and do stuff, you still sit there, just not doing what you need to. What’s that all about?!
Some thoughts about why you may procrastinate from time to time, or continually: –
- You’re scared of failure
- You think it will be too difficult
- You think it will be boring
- You think it will take too long
- You think it will be uncomfortable in some way
- You don’t think you have the skills to do it
- If you start, you will have to face facts that will be nasty
- You think it will go away if you just ignore it
- You think a skin of your teeth deadline is the best way to get stuff done
- You hope somebody else will do it for you if you leave it long enough
- You’re a bit of a lazy bugger.
…and what you could try that may help you kick the habit: –
- If you really don’t have the required skills, find somebody who does and delegate/outsource.
- Accept that failure simply means that you have discovered a way not to do something, and learn from it.
- Set yourself regular time slots to do stuff that needs doing.
- If you’re self-employed, give yourself a job mindset and set yourself working hours/days.
- Stop drifting and build some structure into your day/life.
- Set yourself reminders (for before the absolute deadline) to allow you time for delays, problems and changes and get used to feeling a sense of urgency around them.
- Accept that anything less than perfection is actually OK, unless you’re a brain surgeon…
- Visualise a positive outcome instead of doing the whole boring “I know this is going to be crap/difficult/embarrassing” thing.
- Get some accountability! Ask somebody to kick you up the backside if you don’t do it.
- Know what it is that needs doing. Take a good look at it. Really see it for what it is, or isn’t.
- Put stuff into ‘Important/Urgent’, ‘Should Do Sometime’ or ‘Bin’ piles. Get rid of everything in the ‘Bin’ pile.
- Understand that you could be storing up a whole load of seriously awful stuff if you ignore debt, relationship problems etc.
- At the beginning of your working day, prioritise, focus on the most important task for only 20 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes and then prioritise again. Repeat until your working day is finished. These short stretches of time will have 2 effects on you – they will fool you into thinking that it’s only 2o minutes, might as well, and you will feel a subconscious sense of urgency and get your finger out! Amazing how productive this method can make you.
- At the end of your working day write down anything that you need to so you can get some rest. Stuff that rattles around in your brain just takes up space and hijacks your energy.
- If you still struggle, do 1 crappy task and then 1 pleasant one. Don’t do it the other way round though!
Please tell me you’re not now sitting there thinking, “Yeah, that could work” and then doing nothing? Go and try 1 of these out! Let me know how you get on too…
If this is just one of the areas that holds you back you may find the 7 Wonders series of articles helpful. If you get around to reading them that is 😉 You can grab yourself copies here.
By: Judith Flowerday