“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
Christopher Parker, (b.1983) English actor
Procrastination, like a slow leak under an upstairs sink, can do major damage. But just like that slow leak, you can avoid the damage with regular “maintenance” of those tasks you’re tempted to put off. Here are five ideas to help you tackle projects you’ve been avoiding:
1. Get more information. Sometimes, procrastination is a result of too little information. When “I don’t know where to start” is the problem, write down a list of questions related to the issue you’ve been putting off. This way you’ll find out what you know and what you don’t know, and if you need to consult someone else to help you find answers.
2. Do it or ditch it. When a lack of information isn’t the problem, you may need a deadline to help you decide if the task is worth the mental stress of continuously putting it off. Is there a reason you’re putting it off? Do you suspect the task is a waste of time to begin with? Pick a date to pull the trigger or let it pass. Repeating the cycle of planning, procrastination, and the subsequent guilt is counterproductive.
3. Make it bite-sized. Commit to completing a small portion of the work. Have to clean out the garage? Force yourself to narrow the scope to just disposing of the old paint. Tell yourself you can quit once you’ve done at least one thing. Often starting is the problem, and the momentum of completing one task can get you motivated to keep going.
4. Promise someone. Sometimes you’ll let yourself off the hook if it’s just you who expects the task to be done. Make yourself accountable to someone else. This is especially powerful for workout plans and other self-improvement projects.
5. Make it a race. Sometimes we don’t even realize how little time it takes to knock off those tasks we’ve been dreading. A sure-fire way to stoke yourself to roaring action is to set a timer and see how much you can get done before the buzzer.
Don’t sell out your long-term dreams for the short-term pleasure of putting off a little work. You can defeat procrastination today… so don’t put it off until tomorrow.
P.S. If getting your home ready for sale is one of those projects, get in touch! I’d be happy to motivate you. Email me here.