• ASK NANA

PROCRASTINATION!


organization
Work in 15 minute segments.

I don't even like that word! Do you? It sounds judgmental. Yet we all procrastinate don't we? And it results in homes, workrooms and offices piled high with a mix of good stuff and junk. It also causes us to miss important deadlines. We procrastinate because we think it is easier for "right now" than doing the dreaded job. But procrastination actually results in a life style filled with high anxiety.

We procrastinate for several reasons. We tell ourselves, "I'm too busy now, I'll do it later" but the people who speak Spanish say, "Manana no nunca viene." "Tomorrow never comes." We are never NOT BUSY! Another reason is we may actually be afraid we'll do the job poorly or make wrong decisions. My father used to say, "Do something, even if it's wrong!" Now he wasn't advocating wrong doing he just wanted us to get moving. You can only steer a moving vehicle. My husband says this differently. He says, "Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly." Now I'm sure you've heard that said differently but no one starts out doing everything well. Get started, even poorly, and you'll get better at it in time.

Another reason for procrastination is confusion. It may not be clear to you what to do first or you may have clutter all around because there is no clear place for every item so they just get dropped on a counter or thrown into a drawer. This practice actually wastes a lot of money because we are always buying more of what we already have but can't find.

Here are some small steps to break this pattern and bring you to success.

  1. Use a cheap spiral notebook. Pick three small things that are monkeys on your back. Write them down and then do them today. When they are done highlight each one instead of crossing it out. A highlighted job feels like a victory lap and lifts your spirit. Do this each day and in thirty days you will have ninety monkeys off your back. You may find yourself feeling pretty proud of yourself.

  2. Though I said to start with three easy jobs that's just the beginning to get you moving. Next start picking one job you dread and do it first. The other two will seem like a breeze. Force yourself to be consistent and you will be amazed at your accomplishments.

  3. Make a specific place for everything in your home and work and follow this law, "If it's in my hand then it goes where it belongs." This will clean up clutter like magic. I know people who are constantly trying to organize their work. They have even had a lot of help to do it. But they refuse to follow this rule so they are always working around a mess and waste thousands of dollars buying things they already have. You have to decide what you really want.

  4. Fifteen minute segments: This solves the "I'm too busy right now" excuse. There are lots of free fifteen minute segments in your life if you start to look for them; while you're waiting for a meal to be ready; immediately after you get home from work and before you settle down for the evening etc. Set a timer and focus on one job or one area and see how much you can get done before the timer rings. This can actually become a game or competition with yourself which makes the job seem less tiresome or unending. My father was an excellent example in how much could be accomplished in fifteen minute segments.

The crazy thing about putting these steps into practice is I've seen people get so excited about how free they feel when these monkeys get off their backs that they go beyond the fifteen minutes or they excitedly find more fifteen minute segments in their lives than they thought they could. Remember tomorrow never comes so just do three today and enjoy your success.

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