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Tomorrow And Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Beating The Procrastination Beast

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

My mom used to lecture (repeatedly) to never put off until tomorrow what could be accomplished today. And, she stressed NEVER asking how long a job would take, but rather to “just do it” and get it right regardless of how long it took.

I suppose that’s why by some standards I can be considered a “perfectionist” and “overachiever”. And, my husband frequently has to remind me to impart some “balance” into our lives. After all, all work and NO play can make Jane and very dull gal, and Jack a very disgruntled and neglected husband.

On the other hand, there are those people who get overwhelmed by what I, and many of us consider to be: “all-in-a-day’s” work.

In fact, planning gives them “anxiety”, as does their typical routine of waiting until the last minute and going through serious “stress”. And, often times they simple “drop-the-ball” all together.

And, while experts suggest that “taking a break” and some much-needed time for ourselves the danger lies in allowing the luxury of leisure get the best of us. In fact, they suggest that the benefits of a time-out may quickly turn into panic once you cross the line from relaxing to procrastinating.

But, how do you know the difference and why are you behaving this way? The experts weigh in.

1. Too much too soon: Unless you’re an experienced multi-tasker, large projects can seem overwhelming and complex. So, while your initial thought may be putting the project off, a better solution, say experts, is breaking it down into smaller more manageable pieces. And, make sure to complete a starter task, no matter how small.

2. Fear of “Failure”: If you’re not a gourmet cook, lack a flair for interior design or fashion savvy, or if you’re not mechanically or technologically inclined, the task at hand may seem intimidating and your abilities seriously lacking. Experts suggest trying it anyway and giving yourself a margin for error. In fact, they suggest implementing the 80/20 rule for starters.

3. A Wishy-Washy Attitude: We are ALL “guilty” of this one. In fact, there are lots of areas we just can’t make up our mind about. And, the longer we wait, the harder it is for us to take action. They suggest making a decision and giving yourself a deadline. You may even want to ask a friend or loved-one to hold you to your word.

4. Poorly Prioritizing: There are some things you can and should put off and others you can’t and shouldn’t. Yet, many of us “confuse” the two, or lump everything into an “it-can-wait” category. Make sure you know what you are REALLY responsible for and start there, and NEVER tell yourself that even the secondary stuff is not important. Remember, it’s the little things in life that make it stand out and special.

5. Mundanaity: Most tasks can be repetitive and mundane. Focus on the outcome, the satisfaction, and ways of making it “fun”.

6. Destructive Dynamics: If you’re one of those people who gets easily bored, then it’s also likely you can get easily distracted. So, be sure to keep your focus a priority. Give yourself only a certain amount of time for breaks and reserve phone call, emails, etc for when you are done, or at least have fully completed (to your satisfaction) a task.

7. Out-Of-Sync Organizational Skills: For many its not the task that’s daunting, but rather knowing how to “budget” their time. Start with the small stuff, like cleaning off your work area first and then figuring out what you have to do from there.

8. Lack of Enthusiasm: The less you do, the less motivated you are to do it. And, quite honestly, as people, we simply “get use to” things being a certain way, even if they are out order. Refrain from letting laziness get the best of you. And, if you’re thinking you “use to” do it for someone else, readjust your thinking to “do it” for you. Plus, give yourself consequences for laziness and procrastination, and a “reward” for a job well done.

9. Energy Drain: The key note experts is getting stared, even when you don’t feel like it. So, make sure you get plenty of sleep and that you eat healthy and exercise regularly. Most importantly, don’t skip breakfast.

10. Morning “Mayhem”: Unless you’re a “morning person”, you may find it hard to even get your thoughts together first thing in the morning…and figuring out how to tackle a project may seem more intimidating than it really is. Experts suggest making a list the night before of things you need to get done and in which order. That will help you hit the ground running.

11. Mid-day Fatigue: It’s easy to fall into a slump, especially after lunch. Before your break, experts suggest making a list of all you still need to get done and where you need to pick up when you get back. This will help you outline the rest of your day and stay on track.

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