Five easy steps: my (little) victory over procrastination

Hi all,

I’ve been in the process of organising the things that are in my boxes, and organising the boxes. I’ve given a lot of valuable treasures junk away to op shops or plain threw crap out.

And I needed to re-label some of the boxes. Admittedly, a large box with the word “Stuff!” on it, even in large red letters, was not helpful. All I needed to do was cut cardboard to fit into the label holder (not difficult: two short cuts did each piece), and write in ink what each box contained. Simple, n’est-ce-pas?

Except the procrastination bug bit. Hard. For some reason, I kept putting off this simple little task.

Why? I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that it forced me in a way to assess the things that were actually in the boxes, and sorting stuff is mentally exhausting.

Even writing this blog post about procrastination I, would you believe, procrastinated. Seriously. So even when I get this blog post completed (and I will), that in and of itself will be a victory over procrastination.

So, how to beat procrastination? Here goes:

  1. Schedule. If you have a task that needs doing, clear a space in your diary to do it in. And don’t fill it with other stuff (for most of us, surfing the net. Even this website.).
  2. Break it down. You don’t need to do all of it right away: set milestone targets instead. Make them easy enough to do in one step. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself — even mapping out the task could be a milestone, in and of itself.
  3. Build a momentum. If you have a long list of to-dos, start with a few quick wins: you then build momentum to do harder, more complicated ones.
  4. Start. This is the big one. If you never start you’ll never finish. In fact, starting is usually the hardest part of all. Often after starting a task (like with my labelling boxes I described) it was over in a few minutes. And that, after procrastinating about it for months.
  5. Tell others about it. You’re setting up an accountability structure here — so, how is your swimming / yoga / healthy eating plan going (I’ve been swimming last week, finally!).

It’s not rocket science. It’s not stuff you can’t find from somewhere else. It’s not particularly profound. But if you follow these five easy steps, it’ll go a long way to eliminating procrastination.

And I just eliminated my procrastination about writing a blog post. 🙂

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