Are you in the habit of postponing things you need to do?
Do you catch yourself thinking ”it will be easier to do it tomorrow” and “I probably have less to do on Tuesday, so I’ll do it then instead”, or “I don’t have time to do this now, it’ll probably be easier to finish it later”.
Do you tend to be right about your predictions? Or, is it tempting to think the same thought tomorrow as well, and thereby postpone doing whatever it is even further?
You are not alone. To be honest, I will admit that I also have a tendency to procrastinate. I think it is my need to feel free and unobligated that lurks in the background, but that is a different story.
It is fascinating how we in this way reveal how highly we think of our future capacity. We even think that we are more capable to do what needs to be done tomorrow, than we are today.
Be an optimist, by all means, but also be a realist
It is time for us to embrace a more realistic image of how we will feel in the morning (and how much energy we actually will have then).
What you are today is most likely more or less what you will be tomorrow as well. It is highly probable that you will feel the same reluctance tomorrow as you are feeling now towards doing what you are postponing until then.
We who have a tendency to postpone things also tend to overestimate the amount of work and time required to complete whatever we are inclined to postpone.
If this sounds familiar, give yourself the opportunity to experience what life could be like without this bad habit.
- Decide that every time you think “I’ll just do this later” during this week, you will tell yourself “Or, I could just do it now”.
- More often than you are at present, do what you are about to postpone right away.
- Take out your calendar and on the day one week from today, make a note that you will evaluate how you have done.
- When this time to reflect comes, cease all activity for just a few minutes. Turn off the radio and the phone, close the door, turn away from the computer and think back on how it has felt to do more things than normal right away.
- Have you had time for fewer of the important things since you have focused on completing more of the smaller and less important tasks rather than making a systematic prioritization? Or, have you enjoyed not having a constantly growing “stock” of almost completed tasks you need to finish hanging over you?
A new habit
If you liked doing more things now rather than later, establish this method as a habit by practicing during the 21 days it supposedly takes to establish a new working method. You can for instance use Strides to help you keep track of the days.
If you try completing more tasks right away to a greater extent than you usually do rather than postponing them, you will find that you finish more of the tasks you start. More things are completed and you will have fewer tasks you have to “tweak just a little” before they can be considered entirely finished.
Perhaps you might not have time to initiate and get going with as many tasks as you are used to, but on the other hand you will be more focused and need to remember fewer things during your workday.
If you are like me, you will feel relieved by not having the burden of unfinished tasks hanging over you; a feeling that will definitely revitalize you.
What’s your way?
How do you make sure you do not make life more difficult than it needs to be by postponing to do things that need to be done? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.