Why do some projects languish while others move along in a swift current of productivity? What I notice most is that new desires or assignments that require me to exercise new skills or explore uncertain terrain tend to lag behind my other work. Yet, the new projects are often the ones I am most interested in or the ones where I am required to produce. And, when tackled, they often bring the most rewards measured in results, recognition, learning and a sense of accomplishment.
As I seek to shorten the cycle of procrastination, I’ve noticed that just being aware that that is what I am doing helps. And then, I find these steps can get me into action:
1. Clear some time that I “give” myself to focus on this project.
2. Set a goal to identify one chunk of work that will move it forward.
3. Identify and then contact someone who can help, motivate or collaborate with me on the task.
When does a problem have you excited and eager to “get on it”?
When does a problem feel heavy and you just want to push it away?
I notice that I love problems and challenges…..under certain conditions. The first condition is that I feel I have some idea of how to approach the issue. I notice that the “to dos” on my list that most often get fully addressed are those that I know right away what to do or how to start. I definitely pick working on a complicated and challenging facilitation design over updating the web site.
If there is no deadline, I notice that I create very high standards for the amount of time I need to address some issue that I am dreading spending time on. On the other hand, if there is a deadline to this dreadful work, I find I have the focus and discipline to start chipping away at it.
Procrastination has side effects. Eventually someone does want the product or the report. Eventually the computer does break down after sputtering for a few weeks. Eventually the opportunity vanishes…. and it was such a great opportunity.
What helps you with procrastination? How do you flip the switch to motivate yourself?
One discipline I invoke at times is to take ONE action on something I see I am avoiding. I only have to do one little step toward addressing it. Often, this breaks the logjam. If not, it has at least helped me see that action NOW is possible.
“You may delay, but time will not” —Ben Franklin