Project Procrastination Problems?

Written by Kelly McCausey

Topics: Smart Strategy

I told a business partner of mine today I was procrastinating about a project.  Her reply kinda made my day:

“i’m surprised…don’t see you as the procrastinating type”

She’s right actually, I’m not a big procrastinator.  I loved that she knows that about me!

I either want to do something or I don’t.  If I don’t want to do something I’ll delegate (outsource) it if it’s important or decide not to do it at all if it’s not.

In this particular situation I wasn’t really procrastinating.  I was mulling over decisions I had to make before we could go forward.  It’s a fine line.  My ‘mulling’ could turn into procrastination if it goes on for too long or I avoid facing some part of it.

Procrastination is a broken promise.

I heard something many years ago when I still worked a regular job.  “Hitting the snooze button is starting your day with a broken promise to yourself.”

When you went to bed the night before you set the alarm and your intention to get up at a certain time.  When you hit the snooze button and close your eyes, you’re procrastinating about your day.  You’re starting your day with personal compromise – you’re not doing what you intended to do!

This challenged me. I’d always loved setting my alarm for say, 7:00am, knowing full well I didn’t have to be up until 7:30am.  Hitting the snooze button two or three times was strangely satisfying.  From that day forward I never hit the snooze button again.  I set my alarm for THE time I needed to be awake and I got up when it buzzed.

This sets a positive tone: Do what you intended to do.

Chronic procrastination may be a side effect of overextending yourself.  You can cure your procrastination problem by being more realistic about your to do list every day.  If you commonly complete about three tasks per day – don’t create a daily to do list with ten items on it.  It’s just asking for trouble.  You’ll feel like a failure when you can’t finish your list.

What I’ve learned about me over the years is that I get stressed when I have more than 5-7 open projects at a time.  As an online marketer I have dozens of sites, partnerships & projects – but I can only focus on a few and keep my head straight.

What qualifies as an open project is hard to define.  It might be an information project I’m getting ready for launch, a book I’m writing, a client project I’m responsible for, etc.

I track my open projects by name and when I have seven in play, I start saying no to new things and filing other ideas away for later.

If I try to push myself and take on more projects I will end up procrastinating about something.

Managing and prioritizing all of my ideas, deciding what to work on now and what to file away for later – that’s tough.  After ten years in this business I’ve got valuable perspective on what will make me the most money.  Still, the world is always changing.  What worked two, five or eight years ago doesn’t work the same today.  There will always be a certain amount of risk in my decisions.

The important thing is this:  I do what I intend to do.

If I open a project, I diligently work it til it is complete.  If I feel tempted to procrastinate at any point I will review the project for continued viability.  I’m fine with scrapping something that isn’t working for me.  Better to realize it now than let it weigh down on my thoughts.

So what about you?  Are you procrastinating too much?  I hope you got some ideas for reducing procrastination here.

 

7 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. mom2nat says:

    I was the biggest procrastinator in school.  I was the one staying up until 3 a.m. in college to complete that research paper.  I always said I did my best work under that kind of pressure and maybe that’s true for that school work, but now I don’t feel that I am producing my best and it’s just beyond stressful because there’s always 50 other things that need to be completed by Mom that have now been put off because I had to throw myself into this one project.  So I’m realizing a procrastinating mother just does not work!  At least not for me ;).  Schedules have become a huge thing and if I don’t make a mental note to myself and schedule it in with everything else then I get very overwhelmed!

  2. I find that for me procrastination is actually a front for fear. I wrote about this over on Time Management at Toxic Habits. I struggle with perfectionism and procrastination. They both have a root in fear… fear of failure and sometimes I find it’s even fear of success!

    http://timemanagement.toxichabits.com/procrastination-perfectionism-and-fear/

    I like your story about “enjoying” the snooze button 8=) I think it is important to set the day up right and getting up when you say you will does set the right tone.

  3. Yes! Procrastination assume that there will be plenty of time to do it later – but what if there isn’t?  You blow off what could be done today because you believe that you have all the time you need ‘next week’ – but something else urgent blows up then and now what?  It’s bad news for sure!

  4.  Great post Bill, thanks for adding to the discussion :)

  5. I seldom have procrastination problems.

    However, at this point of my professional life, I have suddenly developed this procrastination syndrome — but I’ve come to realize that it is basically a warning sign, telling me to focus on very specific things and to refuse others, because I don’t really want to do them in the first place).I mean, convincing ourselves to get on with our work is fine, because we have to do it. Then, it is time to be more careful when saying “Yes” to projects or ideas!

  6. Yes! If you procrastinate someone a lot it’s time to view it critically.  I can’t bear putting my hand to work I don’t enjoy.  In the short term it happens but your overall plan for the long term needs to cull those things out permanently!

  7. You know Kelly after you put it this way it makes so much sense why I have felt my procrastination has gotten worse. I have been putting too many to do things on my list each day. In March I’ve decided to let go of a permanent client. Having the client was wonderful but I wasn’t able to what I set out to do in my business. My goal is to subcontract to other service providers. On a day to day basis their to do list had 3 projects itself. Now I can focus on one project at a time.
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