It’s that feeling again.
Why does it take you so long to get started?
You drag your feet. You make up excuses. You dance around it and whatever it is you need to do doesn’t get done.
You feel like you have to play mind games to convince yourself to sit down and do the job.
Take taxes for example. Don’t know about you, but I usually have to negotiate with myself I can have a bar of chocolate once I get done with gathering the info I’ll need.
Imagine how liberating it would be if you just sat down and did the job with no mental bargaining for 20 minutes involved.
Want to know why it takes you such a long time to start?
Keep reading to find the pernicious thoughts which are messing with your effectiveness. Conquer them and you’ll say goodbye to procrastination and hello to productivity.
1 Do you have an inferiority complex?
Maybe you’re just not good enough or fast enough at doing the job. No one is gifted at everything. We all have strong points and weak ones.
Take cooking for example. Some people can whip up a mouthwatering three course dinner in less than 30 minutes. I’m not one of those. I hated being in charge of dinner when I first got married. Eventually I got better and I mastered a few dummy recipes. I accepted that cooking was not my gift in life and stopped dreading it.
So next time you feel like you are not good enough to do the job, give yourself a pass on perfection and go for completion.
2 Are you trying to do too much at once?
When you know you may be facing hours, days or weeks of work to finish what you need to do; it’s easy to feel demoralized. Why hurry to start when you won’t see the end result for such a long time?
Would it help to divide the task? I know, I’m adding some steps here. Maybe the word planning went through your mind and every muscle in the back of your neck tensed. Think of it as chopping. You are just chopping the job in smaller pieces.
After all, you know the old saying: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
3 Do you have a hard time figuring out where to start?
When everything is important nothing is. If you have lots of things to do it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and get paralyzed. You need to set priorities. It’s essential for your sanity and success.
Think about it in color. Like red, orange, yellow and blue. If something needs to be done right away, draw a big red circle beside it. For something that you have the whole year to finish, like a family photo album from last summer’s vacation draw a blue circle beside it.
4 Can you create tunnel vision?
Years ago I worked at a company where people didn’t automatically answer their phones when they rang. At first I thought it was the weirdest thing ever. You mean you purposely will let it ring and go to voicemail? How rude and inconsiderate!
Until I tried it.
It turns out that small interruptions can be a huge time and productivity robbers. So next time you are working on something important refuse to be derailed by interruptions. Shut down your email, turn off the notifications on your phone and lock your pantry (don’t judge, not all of us have an iron will when it comes to snacks) ‘til you’re done.
5 Are you multitasking your brain into insanity?
When you multitask you are able to do more in the same amount of time. Or are you?
Granted, sometimes you should multitask, like when you fold clothes. But whenever you need to pay attention, multitasking becomes expensive. That’s because your brain has to start and stop as if you were driving in a traffic jam.
You go from one thing to the next and back to the first. During that back and forward your brain has to figure out what you were doing when you stopped doing the first task.
Don’t believe me? Try reading a book, being interrupted by your honey asking you where he left the phone and then go back to reading. Where were you?
The truth is that your procrastinating habit is stealing your time, peace and happiness.
And by now you are probably thinking you need to fix the problem.
Let’s face it, it won’t be a small undertaking.
But if you weigh the pros and cons of ditching this mischievous habit, you’ll realize it would be well worth it the effort.
Go ahead. Decide to smash procrastination and start being the boss of your time.