Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ProcrastiNATION Unite!

I read a post about procrastination by Travis over at My Journey Out of Debt a while back and was inspired to write something related to the topic. Well, in the true spirit of a mega-procrastinator, I'm finally getting around to it. Hey, at least I'm doing it!

Unlike Travis, who procrastinated because he refused to be defeated, I do it as a pastime. No joke! I don't mean to brag, but I was first labeled as S.B.L in the 5th grade. Smart but lazy, or so my teacher told my parents. Great, thanks for sharing. In the decade or so that followed, my mom's reminded me numerous times of my terrible habit.

Okay, I'm not sooooo bad that I fail to deliver. Eventually I'll do it and hand over stellar final product, but it can still be problematic. Yes, some have suggested that it's because people like me work better under pressure. Maybe. But it can lead to constant stress, not to mention potential financial losses for waiting 'til the last minute. Procrastination is why some of us haven't gotten started on saving for emergencies/retirement or paying more for shipping after putting off on ordering something important.

Even as an expert procrastinator, I somehow find ways to get things done. Here's a get-it-done guide for those of us who aren’t always on top of things:

  1. Make a list. Few things in life can be as satisfying as physically crossing a task of a list. Maybe you prefer tearing up a Post-It, deleting it from your calendar, or erasing it from your smartphone, it doesn't matter. Talk about instant gratification.
  2. A change in scenery. It could be that your environment's extremely distracting (like my TV right now), or that it's too sedated and making you fall asleep. In any case, take your project elsewhere. Go to a quiet room, a park, a coffee shop, or the library, wherever you can focus better.
  3. What are you afraid of? I'm not trying to play psychoanalyst or anything, but I find that sometimes the reason I resist doing certain things is because I'm scared. Be it the fear of failure or being bored afterward, recognizing the reasoning behind your procrastination can be very helpful in getting you going.
  4. Find the brighter side of things. This goes with the previous point in terms of finding the "deeper meaning" of the task. I find the likelihood of me putting things off to be much lower if I'm passionate about it. Relate the task to something you're enthusiastic about and go from there.
  5. Give someone the permission to yell at you. Alright, maybe they don't have to yell, but having someone to keep you on track can do wonders. Make sure you choose someone who understands you well, so you can't wiggle your way out of it. Also, promise not to get mad at them when they do what I'm doing right now: nag you. 
  6. Sometimes you just have to procrastinate tomorrow when you get around to it. Seriously. When things pile up and there's no end in sight, it's getting bad. Think about what's on the line if you don't get it done and just do it!
  7. If all else fails, find productive procrastination activities. I constantly put off cleaning my room to blog. But hey, at least I'm doing something useful!
Now go forth and reap the reward of productivity!


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