Procrastination causes grief and sorrow…. I think I’m going to quit tomorrow. I don’t remember where or when I first heard that quote, but it’s SOOOO true! I know that for me procrastinating things only leads to me staying up too late, making my daughter angry for taking up her play time with me working, and getting frustrated with myself for not doing it sooner! I’m definitely the type of person who needs 8 hours of sleep a night (I don’t know what has happened since college, I used to be able to get away with MUCH less!), and my daughter wakes up at the crack of dawn (and sometimes prior to that), so if I want to get the amount of sleep I need, I need to stick to my scheduled routine!
What causes us to procrastinate? We don’t want to do the thing we are putting off? Usually. We would rather watch Forrest Gump on TV even though we own the DVD and could watch it at any time (not that I’m speaking from personal experience on this…even though Forrest Gump was on TV tonight… I TOTALLY did the things I was supposed to do tonight instead of watch it… really… I did… I promise)? Sometimes. There are always things we could be doing other than what we are currently doing. Again, I’m speaking about opportunity cost. Another reason I personally procrastinate tasks is that I feel I’ll be able to do the task better or more effectively once Maddie has gone down to sleep. When she was napping it worked out pretty well since I still had that extra time during the day. Now that she isn’t napping I put everything off until she goes to sleep at night, and then once I’ve put her down I’m so exhausted from the day I don’t want to do anything!
Now how can we eliminate procrastination in our own lives? When the task seems too hard, or it’s one of those we just don’t want to do, bite it off a little at a time. Tell yourself you’ll answer one email, or write one paragraph of that paper. Many times that little piece is just the nudge in the right direction we need to accomplish even more of the task that we set out to do to begin with. Suddenly that one paragraph has turned into 4 and you still have things to say! I would say setting out and starting the task is the most difficult part! Once you are there and doing it, continuing is easy. Also, when we actually start the task, sometimes it doesn’t turn out to be as hard as we thought, and completeing it will be a sinch!
Another way to beat the procrastination bug is to give yourself false deadlines. Tell yourself it’s due a few days before it really is. Then when you procrastinate until the last day, you still really have 2 days left. It’s the same principle as setting your clocks 5 minutes fast so that you actually arrive places on time.
Lastly, think of how great it feels when you have accomplished something well before it is due. You have all the rest of the time to relax and do other things, without the task hanging over your head everytime you are doing something else.
Give yourself that piece of mind and stop procrastinating today instead of tomorrow!