Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Do You Procrastinate?

I really struggle in this area. I am always putting things off until tomorrow, and generally the more important the thing is the more likely I am to delay doing it until my life depends on it being done. Fortunately, I am aware of this tendency of mine and I am taking the following steps to overcome this problem.
Firstly, I tell myself "This is a task that I choose to do, not that I have to do." It is important to alter one's mindset from a "must do" to a "want to" mentality. Get excited about the task in question by thinking of the positive effects of completing the task rather than the negative aspects of failing to do it.
Secondly, I tell myself "I don't have to finish the task now, I just have to begin." It's easy to get overwhelmed by a large or unpleasant task. Focus on just getting started, your momentum will then carry you through to complete the task. If it is a particularly large or complex task break it into smaller pieces. Remember "Life yard by yard is hard, life inch by inch is a cinch!" If the task is an unpleasant one don't dwell on how horible it is. Remind yourself that you have seen worse. Tell yourself it's not that bad and that the sooner you get on with it the sooner you will be rid of it. Schedule rest/exercise periods into the task and celebrate or reward yourself every time you complete a task or sub-task.
Thirdly, I remind myself that "It doesn't have to be done perfectly. It just has to be done the best I can in the time available." See the blog below on perfectionism. Perfectionism ruins productivity. There is no such thing as perfect. It is important to focus your energy on tasks where excellence will make a difference, these are usually the more enjoyable ones. All other tasks just need to get done.

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