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16 Mar

Make a push!

Datum: 2022-03-16 15:46

Is it pos­si­bly so that you are respon­si­ble for com­plet­ing a recur­ring task which you tend to repeat­ed­ly post­pone until last sec­ond and fin­ish just before you run out of time? If so, then you will ben­e­fit from read­ing today’s tip.

Per­haps you are get­ting tired of always doing it last sec­ond since you are aware of how stressed it makes you feel. No need to feel ashamed — I have been there, done that. And will most like­ly do it again.

One thing leads to another
Would I be wrong to say that this ten­den­cy to pro­cras­ti­nate is sparked when some­thing unpre­dict­ed, incon­ve­nient and extra­or­di­nary occurs? Per­haps we catch the flu and get behind on all our work, which then eas­i­ly turns into a vicious cir­cle. We end up start­ing on that recur­ring task late and there­fore have to pri­or­i­tize it above all oth­er tasks in order to fin­ish it on time, which makes all oth­er tasks delayed as well and we end up com­plet­ing them at the last minute too. By the time they are done, the next dead­line for that recur­ring task is almost upon us, which we again com­plete at the very last minute, and on it goes …

Get ahead before you are behind
This cycle is indeed a vicious one, and can eas­i­ly drain us of both ener­gy, moti­va­tion and our good mood. It would be bet­ter if we man­aged to turn the whole sit­u­a­tion around and ensure that we no longer fall into the same neg­a­tive spi­ral. What if we were not only up to date and on time with the recur­ring task, but even before sched­ule? Stress is replaced by reas­sur­ance and relaxation.

It is pos­si­ble and doable. But it does require a bit of will-pow­er and some extra effort, which will be worth its while lat­er on.

Mak­ing a push now will allow us to relax later
You know, this sit­u­a­tion is com­pa­ra­ble to cycling. There is a good rea­son why one of the cyclists in the group puts in that lit­tle extra bit of ener­gy and gets ahead of every­one else. He is giv­en an advan­tage and some edge, and can lat­er afford to relax a lit­tle with­out los­ing his posi­tion as the lead­ing cyclist.

So, make a push and put in a lit­tle more effort. Spend some extra time and ener­gy on one or a few tasks which you will pri­or­i­tize more for the next few days. This way you will get ahead with these par­tic­u­lar tasks and feel great that you are now in a posi­tion to relax a lit­tle and enjoy the feel­ing of being ahead.

Doing this will also give you more time for the tasks that tru­ly mat­ters, but which are not des­per­ate­ly urgent and which you oth­er­wise tend to post­pone week after week.

Do this

  1. Decide to work with a recur­ring task which you are respon­si­ble for completing.

  2. Set a goal for how far ahead you want to get with the task. Do you want to have four (what­ev­er the task con­cerns) com­plete­ly pre­pared instead of one? Do you want to be three weeks ahead of sched­ule? Do you want to com­plete half of what is due in two months by the end of next month?

  3. Reserve as much time as you pos­si­bly can in the next cou­ple of weeks which you ded­i­cate to only work­ing with the tar­get­ed task. Do you find it dif­fi­cult to set aside time specif­i­cal­ly for this since you have so many oth­er things to do at the moment as well? If you can spare just fif­teen min­utes every day for this task, it will even­tu­al­ly get you ahead, even if only by a lit­tle. But if you can man­age to set aside more time, you will get ahead faster. The choice is yours.

  4. If you want to, sched­ule the reserved time in your cal­en­dar so that it is eas­i­er for you to stick to your plan and so that you do not fill your days and time with meet­ings instead of work­ing on the task as intended.

  5. It is now time to get to work. Take a few deep breaths and pre­pare to exert a bit more effort than usu­al. You will soon notice how won­der­ful is is to be ahead of sched­ule. Notice how you prob­a­bly even enjoy the exer­tion of that extra effort, and how you might even be tempt­ed to do just a lit­tle bit more to get ahead even faster.

  6. That’s that! Now feel the dif­fer­ence. Remem­ber how stressed you felt by being delayed and hav­ing to fin­ish the task last sec­ond, and com­pare it to how it feels now when you are well ahead of your­self. Well done!

Rid your­self of that bad conscience
If you make an extra effort to get ahead with some­thing which was pre­vi­ous­ly sub­ject to pro­cras­ti­na­tion, your sched­ule will become more spa­cious and flex­i­ble with­out you hav­ing to do few­er things. You will to a greater extent have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to use your time as you please, and your work­days will sim­ply become more enjoyable.

Do you have any oth­er good ideas?
How do you avoid get­ting behind on your work, and instead be ahead of sched­ule with your tasks? Tell me!