If You Don’t Quit Procrastinating Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

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This is Part 1 of mini-series on improving our organisation skills. At age 28, my life was a mess.
  • I struggled to get anywhere on time
  • My house was a complete state
  • I had huge lists of things to do. In fact, I spent most of my time trying to get rid of my backlog of jobs
At age 30, I broke up with my fiancée and had a mini breakdown. I then moved in with a friend who was the polar opposite to me. I have spoken about Doug in my article When does self-control become self-restriction? Doug was incredibly organised. I wanted to learn to be more like Doug. So I watched Doug carefully. I was determined to figure out what Doug did that enabled him to be so organised. One thing in particular stood out to me.
Start Quote Sometimes I would discuss something we needed to do. I would talk about doing this task ‘sometime’ in the future. But Doug’s response was always the same. He would say “There’s no time like the present”. And bang: he would do the job right away. End Quote

I learnt why life was such I mess

I had always procrastinated. Now I began to realise that this was one of the main reasons my life was such a mess. So I decided to begin to try to apply Doug’s attitude to my own life. And you know what? It made a huge difference. It was always extremely difficult to push myself to do things straight away. In fact I would say it was painful. But I just tried to focus on the rewards: which were that my life outcomes began to massively improve. I began to feel in control of my life.

I then researched what makes people more organised

After this, I spent quite some time researching which traits appear to contribute to people being organised or disorganised. Today we are going to look at Procrastination. Individuals who do NOT procrastinate:
  • like to do things sooner rather than later
  • leave themselves plenty of time to do jobs
  • are usually on time for appointments
  • are very routined in all they do
Try Our Quiz: Why not try our Procrastination quiz and find out if you are a procrastinator. CLICK HERE

Low Scorers: ‘The washing up needs to be done!’

Many people who score LOW on Procrastination appear to get anxious whenever they see a job that needs to be done. Until that job is done they can’t settle. So imagine that you have finished a lovely meal and you just want to chill out and chat with your guests. For many of us, this is a really relaxing time. However, the person who scores low on Procrastination may not feel very relaxed. Why? Because the washing up needs to be done. She can only relax once the washing up has been done!

High Scorers: ‘I can do the washing up tomorrow…’

High scorers typically leave jobs and chores until the last minute. Procrastination can severely hamper our ability to stay on top of things. It’s important to recognise that if getting jobs done creates anxiety, then great care needs to be taken when trying to manage our capacity to do chores. This is because doing chores drains our energy reserves.
Start Quote I think it is useful to imagine that you have an energy bottle. This bottle contains energy that can be drawn on when jobs need to be done. There are moments when the bottle is nearly empty. Imagine you have come home from work and you've had a really hard day. In fact you're feeling a little anxious and down about things. Your energy bottle is nearly empty. I suggest that if you try to do chores now, you might find that you tip into a momentary depressive episode. End Quote
No wonder you procrastinate – in fact procrastination may be the best response at this moment. However, there are other moments when you feel happy and on top of the world. Perhaps it’s a Saturday morning. You’ve just had a lovely breakfast and watched this week’s episode of Great British Bake-Off (or whatever floats your boat!). You are feeling happy. Of course you could just sit and watch more TV. I suggest, however, that now is the time to do one of those jobs that needs doing. Then reward yourself with another episode.

‘But often I just want to relax!’

If you’re a procrastinator it's easy to just keep relaxing when you're enjoying down-time. But remember, if you don’t feel like doing your chores now, you definitely won’t feel like doing them when you're feeling stressed. Use the moments when you have the most energy reserves to chip away at chores. Question: I'd love to know what you think: do you, like me, struggle to stop relaxing when chores need to be done? COMMENT BELOW Quiz: Try our Procrastination quiz and find out if you are a procrastinator. CLICK HERE

Part 2 - Is Your Inability to Complete Tasks Holding You Back?

Do you find that you take too long to do things? In Part 2 of this series we will discuss how to complete tasks quicker.Click here for Part 2. Photo: Tambako The Jaguar

References

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