I think we all have those tasks that languish on our “to do” list waaay too long. One of my procrastination tactics is the old cut and paste this chore until later in the week, or better yet next Monday when I am fresh and the week is young.
For me, some of these tasks are phone calls I don’t want to make (that client who keeps cancelling – the request to have someone review my book). I dread the possibility of rejection. Then there are the projects I am working on (my digital estate plan, promoting my virtual organizing). These tasks seem both overwhelming and not as urgent as other tasks.
So, what to do?
Acknowledge that I am doing this.
Just verbalizing how I feel and why I keep putting off this task gives me some perspective. Instead of just feeling the negative thoughts, I can start to make a plan for action.
2. Think about how I am going to feel once the task is complete and how I am going to reward myself.
I know that I will be much lighter without this monkey on my back. I will feel free to do something I really want to do without feeling guilty.
3. Look at the possible positive outcomes from doing these tasks.
The client may be just waiting for my call as her nudge to action. People may be very happy to review my book. They just hadn’t thought to do so. My projects are all ones that will give me peace of mind.
4. Break down large projects into small parts.
Stop putting on my “to do” list things like “work on visual organizing promotion.” Instead put down “brainstorm everything you need to do to promote.” This is doable and then I can start to list each little task.
5. Use if-then planning (got this out of Psychology Today article).
If I haven’t finished (put in task) by 3:00 p.m., then I am going to file it away and work on (new task). If the client hasn’t responded to my email by Wednesday evening then I am going to call her at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. According to the Psychology Today article, by deciding in advance what you are going to do and when and where you are going to do it, there’s no deliberating when the time comes. If-then planning has been shown in over 200 studies to increase rates of goal attainment and productivity by 200-300 percent on average.
OK! I have my plan. Let’s just do it!
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer