Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow What Can Be Done Today




There is nothing like finishing a task successfully to give a feeling of warm satisfaction. The thought that that task is done, gone and finished. The results and benefits of said task being done.... so why, oh why do I procrastinate so much?? “I don’t feel like doing it today. I’ll definitely do it tomorrow when I have more time/energy/motivation. I need to do this irrelevant thing today. I’ll just check Facebook, and then I’ll do it. Well it’s just too late to start now.” Sound familiar? I know it does for me. I have so many unfinished (or more commonly, not started) diy jobs around the house and I can literally look at something that needs doing a hundred times before I actually do something about it.

I’ve done a bit of research into procrastination (defined by Wikipedia as ‘The practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the "last minute".’) and the article on Psychology Today has struck a few chords with me.

Here are a few points from the article:

·        Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.
·   Procrastinators are made not born. It is one response to an authoritarian parenting style. Having a harsh, controlling parent keeps children from developing the ability to regulate themselves. Procrastination can even be a form of rebellion. 
·    Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, "I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow." Or "I work best under pressure." But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure.
·     Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don't take a lot of commitment on their part as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure.
There are three basic types of procrastinators:
· Thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
·      Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success
·     Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision which absolves them of responsibility for the outcome of events.




So, how do I try to get over my procrastination? New Year’s Resolutions? Empty pledges and promises? Well, my main tool has to be the list. It has to be a physical list, not just one in my head. I have a list at work of everything I have to do, and a sub list of everything to be done that day. It’s just written down on paper.



List Master on Android


At home, I use a list app on my mobile. There are several available but I use List Master. I can make lots of separate lists (shopping, to do lists etc) and also prioritise my tasks. It also has a fantastic tick function which is a really good visual tool.

I try to put everything on it, no matter how small. On days when I don’t feel like doing a big job, I do a little job and tick it off when it’s done. Seeing those jobs being ticked off is great motivation. You just need to look at the list often.

I have also tried telling friends about jobs that I am DEFINITELY going to do in an attempt to shame myself into doing it. I must confess this is not terribly effective. My friends know me too well and the shame just isn't strong enough.

Hopefully the high of completing a job will one day outweigh the good feeling of lazing around on Facebook!

I’m so glad I’ve done this post. I’ve been putting it off for ages!

Do you procrastinate? How do you deal with it? Leave a comment... go on, don’t put it off.

By Bee

16 comments:

  1. I am terrible for procrastination and can identify with the strict parent theory, but I would much rather dip in and out of Facebook than do something boring!

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    1. Right with you there Jo. In fact, I'd rather do anything than something boring. At times I wish I could do something about it as I put myself under such pressure by leaving things to the last minute.

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  2. I do, but I don't think its to the extent of chronic procrastination! It's very easy to procrastinate when you're tired although I always regret it cos then more works builds up!

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    1. Hi Anna. I find that when the work builds up, I'm even more likely to procrastinate. The list seems so overwhelming, I don't know where to start. Then instead of just picking something to do, I just fret about the size of the list. Silly I know and it makes me even more stressed. JUST DO IT!!!!

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  3. I used to procrastinate but I've forced myself into the habit of allowing myself a little treat - might only be a cup of coffee - when I've done X amounts of tasks. Helps no end to motivate me.

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    1. That's a great idea. And sitting with that coffee with the satisfaction of a completed task would make it taste all the better.

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  4. I like to do tasks ASAP to get them out of the way (and do them properly!) but my partner is the opposite, total procrastinator - drives me mad!x

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    1. I wish I was more like you. Im married to a procrastinator too so its a real struggle to get things done.

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  5. Its amazing how much you can feel better after doing those niggly little things that pop into our minds when we least want reminding of them. I like to do them asap but my daughters the complete opposite

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    1. It is such a good feeling which is why I dont understand why I dont just crack on and get it ticked off my list.

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  6. I am definitely an avoider :)

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    1. Why do we do it? It's not like the job is going to go away. And it feels so good when it's ticked off. It's crazy!

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  7. I definately relate to this. I've been doing up my home for over a year and now i cant face it any more so i keep putting jobs off, but that just makes me feel worse tomorrow!

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    1. We've been in our house for 13 years and still haven't got around to decorate all of the rooms. Some rooms are almost finished and have been like that for several years. It gets me down but I still put it off. If I just cracked on with the jobs, my mind would be less cluttered. Maybe one day.... :o)

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