Can you relate with the flowchart above? I found it fascinating that someone has the time to create such a flowchart. Made me laugh out loud tonight when I came across it. When I found it, I actually was blowing it up to see the what each of the boxes stated. I missed the point of the picture…get it?
The above picture is what it can be like some days, weeks, months, or even years. That project you were looking to get done last week has now turned into a month and so forth. I am not saying that I do not struggle with procrastination…I do. At the same time I have tried a number of ways to at least control it as it never truly goes away. Below are some of my thoughts and ideas on controlling procrastination:
Strategy 1: Realistic Goal Setting
One common reason for procrastinating is that often too much of the same activity must be done at one sitting. Rather than spending three hours in one evening reading or doing that unpleasant task, plan to chunk that task up. This is especially important for tasks which are difficult or unpleasant. If you spend thirty to sixty minutes each day, rather than leaving a week’s work for one marathon session, you’ll be far less likely to put the work off.
Strategy 2: Plan to Work, Plan to Play
In the section above I used the term “plan” – something which is usually missing from the a situation in which you procrastinate. If you use the “I do whatever I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it” method of time management, this scenario is probably familiar to you: you can’t work effectively because your mind is on the other things you’d rather be doing, yet you feel guilty when you’re not working because there’s so much waiting to be done.
Although there is something to be said for waiting for inspiration to strike, it is usually not a very efficient way to get things done. Planning does not mean rigid or elaborate scheduling, but it does require some skill and intelligent decision making. A good time plan is probably the single most effective way to control procrastination. Figure out a plan that works for you.
Strategy 3: The “Making a Molehill out of a Mountain” Method
Procrastination often results when the task seems difficult, unpleasant, or overpowering. You can bring the task down to size and make it less intimidating by using this method. As soon as you receive a big task or pothead, set aside a mere 10 or 15 minutes a day to work on it. By the end of one week, you’ll have spent at least an hour on the task, and you may have found that it’s not quite as scary as you thought. By spending only a few minutes each day, you are accomplishing a small, and therefore less intimidating task – one that is less likely to get put off. Once you are involved and maybe even interested in the task, you may be motivated to spend more time on it. Be cautious, however, since very large tasks require larger blocks of time. Manageable, daily periods of work are the key, while starting early helps to ensure that due dates will be met.
Strategy 4: Self Discipline?
Often people blame their problems with procrastination on laziness or a lack of self discipline. However, the cause is usually not as simple as that. For example, there is an interesting connection between procrastination and perfectionism. You want it just right and so when you know you are in a bind and can’t get it done then you are going to put it off and when it is not up to snuff the blame is I did not have a lot of time.
Procrastination can sometimes be an indication of a fear of failure, or of disappointing family. Sometimes it is a symptom of a lack of motivation, the loss of a sense of purpose for a certain task or role. Understanding why you procrastinate is crucial to its undoing. Do some self-reflection. It maybe different for different tasks, roles, or even environments.
Strategy 5: Get Help
Nothing wrong with help. There are tons of tools and resources even for free out on the Internet. Simply Google it and see what you find. Michael Hyatt one of my favorite bloggers and authors has some fascinating views on it: http://michaelhyatt.com/stop-procrastinating.html