Procrastination is the thief of time. We have heard this quote so many times that it almost seems like a cliché now.Nevertheless it still is one of the truest lines for sure. How do we ensure that this doesn’t happen on a regular basis? Here are some thoughts that might help
1) Recognize that you are procrastinating
First rule of any pattern is to recognize. Most times we procrastinate cos we are in a mode of denial. Accept and acknowledge that you are procrastinating; there is nothing wrong in doing that. It is one of the most naturalthing in the world and we sorta take a bit of pride doing that.
2) Why do we procrastinate
Now, this might be an interesting question to ask. What exactly are the reasons that we postpone things for? Some I have usually given myself are –
- It is an easy project, I can do it in a small time, perhaps maybe later
- This is a very difficult one, I have no idea how to go about it, maybe I can in sometime
- I am expecting some help, people will come and help me look at things better and sort this for me.
And lots more but these are myfavourite, but something I have realized over and over is that when the deadline comes closer, none of these actually seem to happen, the only thing that happens in the end is that it creates a lot of pressure and stress and reduces the productivity to a very low level.
3) Chunk the lists
We are all very smart people, very familiar with the list, but something we often miss in the list are the details. Make a good mix of the list with the easy things and the ones with the deadlines, earlier the deadline, higher the priority. Find a way to chunk more than a thing, for example, listening to an audio book can be very well combined with driving to work or going to the gym, socialising with lunch or dinner, physical exercise with socializing like sports clubs, etc. I am sure you can come up with smarter ones. We talked about a similar aspect in our time management article – Time management: 10 tricks for absolute mastery
I am not going to talk much about them. We all know how important it is to stick to the deadlines, but again, do organize the priorities right. It is very natural for us to confuse the urgent to high priority. Make sure that you are not falling into that trap while making that list. Some projects which can be delegated, some projects which don’t need the fullest concentration need to be treated that way. The idea is to look at the larger picture. It is the specialist Vs generalist debate again, sort accordingly.
5) Don’t be a perfectionist
It is very easy to be lost in the details. Sometimes we realize that we haven’t sealed a project because ofa very minor thing which would certainly accentuate the beauty of it but doesn’t harm the project in general. I do understand that it is a great feeling to finish off things in a great way, taking care of every single detail. That’s certainly very important, I do appreciate that, but is it the case for every project we do? What is more important? Is it about finishing it or making it perfect?
6) Appreciate the urgency of a deadline
Most times procrastination is an easy exit. It is to tell ourselves that – It is not that I can’t do it, I can do it but ….. We can give a lot of reasons to rationalize here. But the end result would still be that you did not do it. It doesn’t matter how much capacity you had or how beautiful you would have done it. What matters is that you did not do it on time. Respect the timeline, it is far more expensive than any other beauty that you can add to a project.
Above all, act upon it. We are all brilliant planners, we can do a second to second timeline to complete a project but what creates the difference is how fast we get to it. Well if you are thinking that you can do it later, I guess it is time to reread 🙂