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
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.
I learnt why life was such I messI 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 organisedAfter 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
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.
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.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.