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.