Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stop Getting Screwed by Procrastination

Yup, I did it again. I procrastinated. One of the screws came loose in the back of my computer this week. It was a busy few days, so I did you know what. I WAITED. Not forever, just till Saturday. But by then, the computer was not shutting properly. Good thing I bought the warrantee and even better thing the guys at our Staples are AMAZING. But, I was out of a computer for a whole day and the tech told me it was a close call, as the interior mechanisms were starting to be damaged.

It’s a funny thing about procrastination. I KNEW the right answer. It is a computer, for heaven’s sake. And what I mean by that is, it is one step away from being a “magical mystery machine” in my eyes. I have no idea what is harmless and what is potentially catastrophic with computers. But I waited anyway. If I had waited a few more days, I may have trashed all the inner workings. So, I could have REALLY been screwed.

My point here? Procrastination really can get us in trouble. And most of the time, it is just plain unnecessary. If I had completed the following (TASK) checklist, I could have been in and out of Staples in about 5 minutes. Take a look and see if this list can stop you in your procrastinating tracks.

1. Task identification. Most of the time we don’t procrastinate the fun stuff, it is the tasks we don’t want to deal with that get put off, even though sometimes that can be scheduling or planning the fun stuff. I know what I am procrastinating because when I think of it, I get a knot in my stomach. A little twinge. My body’s way of telling my mind to get on the stick. How do you KNOW what you are avoiding? What do you hear in your head or what does your body tell you?

2. Assess. What has to be done anyway? What is this big task that I am dodging? What needs to happen to get this done? For me, it was taking my computer to the Staples, and preparing to hear something that I didn’t want to hear.

3. To Stall or not to Stall? How big of a deal is this? What happens if I don’t do this? What are the consequences? Do I HAVE to do it? (Sometimes we put things on the “to do” list that really don’t have to be done.) What are the emotional consequences for not doing it? For me, every time I looked at my computer, I got that twinge in my belly. The job was taking up emotional SPACE in my brain. Duh! What was I thinking?

4. Kick it. Kick the task out of the way. How?
a. Drop the task off your list and out of your mind because you really don’t need it.
b. Delegate it. Maybe this task doesn’t even belong to you.
c. Take a big gulp and do it. Just get it done. The sooner the better.
d. Wait and feel miserable while the task probably gets bigger.
PS – If you were my student and you picked “d,” you would get the answer WRONG! But you know what? Procrastination is all about choices and the choice is yours!
Let me know if this TASK an acronym works for you and share how YOU stop your procrastination in its tracks!

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