We all experience certain moments in our lives where our whole life feels like one big procrastination. I’ve read articles on what the most effective ways are to deal with procrastination and how to get more productive by doing x amount of things. They helped, but they never really addressed the problem of procrastination itself.
So I searched for something that effectively dealt with the roots of procrastination and I found an intuitive approach on how to deal with procrastination. It’s called; structured procrastination. However, since this approach is very intuitive it won’t be something that fulfills the needs and desires for the mainstream.
Only the ‘out of the box’ thinkers will love this approach. So if you’re still with me, get ready for a unique perspective on how to deal with procrastination.
What is Structured Procrastination?
In a fancy way, structured procrastination is described as the fine art of doing less, but in a structured way. But in a more operational description; instead of doing that ‘very important thing’ that you keep postponing, you need to focus your attention on other things that are on your to-do list with the consequence that it becomes more alluring to do that ‘very important thing’.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
Requirements for structured procrastination
You need a certain amount of self-deception. Yes, you need to ‘lie’ to yourself or as I like to call it; you need to trick yourself. You need to trick your mind into thinking that the ‘very important thing’ is actually not that important and that the other tasks on your to-do list are more important.
Luckily, procrastinators are unconsciously an expert in self-deception. When we finally start working on the ‘very important thing’ that we kept postponing we often feel the need to reward ourselves for our good behavior. And although this may seem like a positive reinforcement of our behavior, the reward that we award ourselves is often excessive in relation with the amount of time we actually worked on that ‘very important thing’. But you deserved it, right?
How structured procrastination works
Start by tricking yourself about the priority level of the tasks you need to do. So you’re creating a situation in your mind where you lower the priority level of the ‘very Important thing’ (but in reality it’s still the same) and value the priority level of the other tasks on your to-do list as higher than the ‘very important thing’ (when in fact they’re also still the same).
When you act like the other things on your to-do list are more important then it’ll be much easier to take action on the important task. Besides that, our lives are dynamic, so every day or week, new tasks are being added to our to-do list with some even having a higher priority level.
This makes it also more tempting to get started on the important task, because it’s priority level lowers. Finally, when you’re doing all the other things on your to-do list, a momentum of execution is created which brings focus back to the most important task of all.
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen
The beauty of structured procrastination is that it’s not forcing you to learn anything new. Instead, structured procrastination goes with the flow and wants you to give in to the temptation of procrastinating. That’s why you should give it your very best shot, because finally there is a solution for procrastination that accepts you for who you are and still manages to make you more productive.
What are your own unique approaches to deal with procrastination? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Author: Krishan Kalpoe
You have a task that you know that you need to do. It sits there, staring you in the face, or lurks just around the corner. It weighs on your mind, causing stress and anxiety.
So often we wait for inspiration to strike to help us get started on a difficult task. The important task nags at your mind. You know that it needs to get done, but you are waiting for just the right time to do it. You need some sort of spark of motivation to get you started.
The problem is, that sometimes inspiration doesn’t strike.
Where does the motivational spark come from? How can you kindle it, and gain control over your life?
Here are four reasons why many people don’t get started, and what we can do about them:
1. You don’t have a strong reason why
Not having a strong reason to accomplish a task in the near future allows many tasks to slip to the back burner. Without a strong reason, it is easy to postpone the task, over and over again.
Search your mind for the reasons why a task is important. Think of your values and life goals. How will accomplishing this task help you a year from now, ten years from now, and in the overall context of your life?
Set a deadline for yourself, with intense personal reasons why you must meet that deadline. Be sure that you are committed to the deadline. An attitude of “I hope to get that done this year” won’t get you very far. You need an attitude of “I definitely will get that done by March because (insert important reason). In order to reach that deadline I need to complete this small step today.”
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay
2. Lack of commitment
Lack of commitment can cause us to never start many tasks. Make a commitment to a time and a place, where and when you will do the task. If you tell yourself that you will do a task at 10:00 this morning from your desk, rather than a vague “I will do it today”, it will become more real in your mind. The more real it is, the more likely you are to actually do it.
Time acts as a trigger to get you started. When the appointed time rolls around, you will be thinking, it is 10:00, I must start the task now. Now is an important word. The only time you can actually start a task is now.
Setting a place where the task will be done helps to satisfy the “S” in SMART goals. Knowing where the task will take place makes it more specific. At a minimum, you know that in order to get started you must be in the proper place.
Fear may be holding you back. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear that the result of completing the action may make you have to face up to bad news. But ignoring fear does not make it go away. Fear needs special treatment to be overcome.
Realize that by completing the task and facing the consequences, you are almost always better off than if you hide your head in the sand waiting for the problem to go away. Usually, ignored problems only get worse. And even if they don’t get worse, living long term with the stress of the undone task hanging over you is not good for your health. Face a fear enough times and the fear reaction will nearly be gone.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
4. A task may seem overwhelming
A task may seem overwhelming, making it hard to imagine getting it done. Your big goals in life can be like that. You have strong reasons why you want to accomplish the goal, but it is so big it is hard to see the end from where you currently stand.
Find small steps to get started. I love the term “baby chunks”, from Steve Robbins, the self-proclaimed Get It Done Guy. He uses the term to refer to a small chunk of time, say 10 minutes, in which we focus 100% on the task, makes getting started much more manageable.
However, I often think of the phrase as meaning a small piece of the task. I used that technique as a child when cleaning my room seemed overwhelming. I looked around the room and found one toy that I could pick up and put away. That was okay, so I looked for the next one, and the next, and so on.
Nowadays I usually break down any daunting task into small steps to get started. Look up the phone number. Set the time that I will call. Plan what I will say. At the appointed time, pick up the phone.
You can get your motivational spark by having strong enough reasons, by making a commitment, by overcoming fear, and by breaking the task down into manageable chunks.
When are you going to stop procrastinating with your daily tasks? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
In a world where everyone is in a hurry to get everything done, the fine art of putting off until tomorrow what you can do today just doesn’t get enough respect. It’s true that being the first, the fastest, and the most productive can be a wonderful thing most of the time.
However, there are a few positive aspects to procrastination that can actually help you achieve and get important things done as well.[caption id="attachment_1585" align="alignnone" width="824"] Image Credit: http://www.businessinsider.in/[/caption]
Here are five useful tips for making conscious procrastination work to your advantage:
1. Choose which tasks to procrastinate with
Author of Wait, Frank Portnoy, defines procrastination as the art of managing delay. His take on procrastination is that everyone should use it to help achieve greater success by using a structured approach. You see, not every task or job should be given the same priority. Any task that is critical or necessary to your job or your well-being should be given a higher priority than tasks that are merely pastimes or time wasters.
The idea is that if you procrastinate by doing other high priority tasks, rather than allowing yourself to lounge in front of the Xbox all day playing Call of Duty, the net effect is that you are still getting important things done.
This novel approach to procrastinating actually makes it possible to be more productive than ever before. It also has the one very important added benefit: the nonessential and low priority tasks naturally go away because they keep getting put off until they are no longer necessary.
“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” – Victor Klam
2. Overloaded schedules must be prioritized
It is human nature to fill our schedules to the breaking point with every task imaginable. Everyone optimistically tends to overestimate how much they can get done when they are building a schedule.But if we are honest with ourselves, we can sort between those things that are non-negotiable and must be done and those things that are just wishful thinking – the stuff we would love to do if we had the time, but that won’t really matter if it doesn’t get done. You might be surprised to find out just how much of your schedule is filled with wishful thinking type of tasks.
3. Leaving it until the last minute can lead to better decisions
If you notice yourself putting off making a difficult decision, feel free to use this delay to do any necessary research. You can be sure that the new information you acquire will eventually help you to make a better decision. Moreover, the looming deadline will force you to stop any waffling or dithering which happens most often when you’ve got too much time on your hands to constantly second guess yourself.
Sometimes making a decision right before a deadline is the right thing to do – even if it seems rash or premature. Trust yourself and follow your instinct. If you feel that you’re not prepared to make the decision, do everything to delay it. If you approach the deadline with a clear and calm attitude, it doesn’t matter how long it took you to ponder upon the decision, you’ve simply made up your mind.
4. Procrastination can tell you about who you are
John Perry, the author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponingtells us that procrastination is often our subconscious’ way of sending us a message.
“If you’re a productive person,” according to Perry, “the desire to procrastinate on a task can mean that the task isn’t important or valuable to you. Pay attention to that and ask yourself if you should be doing it at all.”
What it essentially means is that you should never blindly push yourself to accomplish one task after the other. Perhaps sometimes sacrificing your time to things which you feel aren’t really worth the effort.
Listen to your instinct and if you find yourself procrastinating on a task, don’t get irritated, but consciously ask yourself where this feeling comes from. Perhaps it’s your mind’s way of telling you that what you are trying to do is worth neither your time nor your effort.
“Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Edward Young
5. Procrastination can make you more creative
For many people, thinking is a large part of procrastinating. This can be particularly helpful when given a task that at first seems too difficult for you to do. When this happens, the thinking you do while you are procrastinating can lead you to come up with better or more creative ways to finish the job.
Perry advises that, “If you go back through history of human culture and take away every invention that was made by someone who was supposed to be doing something else, I’m willing to bet there wouldn’t be a lot left.”
In short, don’t get angry or irritated at yourself for procrastinating. If your mind needs a breath of fresh air and a moment of relaxation, just succumb to it and you’ll learn that it’s simply worth it. Once your procrastination phase is over, you’ll emerge with an active and fresh mind, ready to tackle any problem in the most creative ways possible.
As you can see, if done consciously, procrastination might actually bring you great results in both your professional and your personal life, allowing you to learn, gain and do more. Just remember to be smart and focus on those tasks that can truly benefit you.
How do you use procrastination in a positive way? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Author: Simone Smith
Source: Addicted to Success.