If you have a tendency toward procrastinating, you’re not alone. Many people put things off, thereby mismanaging their time and sometimes even getting themselves into trouble. If you tend to delay things instead of getting things done, read on.
Everyone does it, and it’s not always a bad thing. Procrastinating is all about delay and putting things off until some future date. Strategic procrastination to give yourself time to make a better decision may work in your favor, says the American Institute of CPAs. “Sleeping on it” helps many people function highly, once the sleeping is done. Hesitation to do important tasks, however, generally turns out to be more than a bit detrimental to one’s life. Putting things off instead of getting things done can be a real self-confidence wrecker.
Baby steps are still forward steps
Productivity pros at Success magazine suggest asking yourself a new question each time you choose to put something off. When you decide to do something tomorrow, ask yourself what steps toward that end you can take today, Even if you do not complete the project, you’ll be closer to getting it done than you’d be if you procrastinated another day. When you delay a project for lack of something, see how you can start without the missing item. Improvising can go a long way toward accomplishing things you would otherwise put off.
If you wait ‘til tomorrow when you could start today because you haven’t time to complete the project, you waste energy feeling less than accomplished. Instead, devote five or ten minutes to the task, and when tomorrow comes you’ll have less to do. Do this even when you don’t feel like it. Making a step toward progress may improve your outlook on life – and increase confidence considerably.
How to stop procrastinating for good
When a project needs doing, dive right in. If you have to break a large project into small tasks, do that and address the first task without delay. Make to-do lists and check tasks off as they are accomplished. Seeing visual confirmation of your progress is a good confidence booster.
Stop making excuses, to yourself or to other people. Figure out a time management system that works for you, and stick with it. Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning and don’t hit the snooze button. Start your day without rushing, and you may find yourself getting things done for a change. Get a sense of momentum going. Starting one task and seeing it through may inspire you to start another project, and so on. You may even complete tasks with time to spare. And, unless you are a brain surgeon or a tax accountant, you can probably stop worrying about perfection. In most cases, progress turns out to be infinitely better than ever-elusive perfection, anyway.
If procrastination is your bugaboo, take one step today toward doing something you’ve been putting off. Even if it’s hard to start, start anyway. Manage your time wisely, do things you say you’ll do and you might even sleep better at night.