Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Defeating Procrastination in the New Year

Happy New Year Everyone! Now listen up! We're throwing down some serious verbage below, compliments of our very own Dawn Ulmer (Red 7's Project Manager). These words, written by Dawn, affect everyone, so pay close attention... they just might change your life.

"Well, what if I don't want to change my life?" you say. Fine! Here's some pictures of goats in trees.


All of us procrastinate at one time or another. Procrastination, however, becomes a problem when we find ourselves procrastinating over too many things over too long a period of time. Then procrastination insidiously invades our characters and we paralyze ourselves with our inactivity. We begin to notice that it is taking more time to evade a task than it does to actually do it. All of our 'to dos" begin to pile up. Then we notice ourselves becoming irritable, anxious and frustrated. We begin to lose our tempers and hate ourselves for how we are acting - all because we keep putting off doing something we know we should have done yesterday.

* We'd rather be doing something else.
* We magnify the time it takes to complete a task.
* We feel overwhelmed with too much to do.
* We hope someone else will do the job if we don't.
* We want to wait until we can do the job more thoroughly and perfectly.
* We don't have a deadline for the project so don't even start.
* We don't "feel" like doing the project.
* We don't know where to begin and sometimes don't want to admit that we don't know how to do part or all of the job.
* We over-commit ourselves.
* We fear failure.
* If truth be told, sometimes we just don't want to do the job.

When we determine why we are procrastinating on a chore, job or project, then we can begin to deal with the problem. Basically, the solution to any procrastination problem is:

1. Begin immediately. Don't give yourself even a second to think about it, make excuses or try to talk your way around it. DO IT NOW!
2. Set a deadline. Decide when you want the task completed, then DO IT NOW!
3. Make time for the task. Set aside a reasonable block of time for the task, then DO IT NOW!
4. Do the worst part first. When the worst job or worst portion of the job is out of the way, all else looks easy, even inviting. DO IT NOW!
5. Break a major task into small steps. Estimate the time needed to complete each step, then DO IT NOW!
6. Be accountable. Ask a friend to help keep you accountable for what must be done. Then DO IT NOW!
7. Take advantage of free moments. Perhaps a meeting has been canceled or an appointment has been postponed. Redeem the time and DO IT NOW!

1. Work within your energy level. Determine at what time of day or night you do your best work.
2. Convert work into minutes. Often we think a job will take longer than it actually does. If we see a job in terms of minutes, we see the job as manageable.
3. Compete with yourself. If it took you 20 minutes last time to do a task, streamline the process and beat the clock.
4. Find a simpler way. If a task is to involved, try eliminating some aspects and combining the work. For example, it is easier to water one planter full of plants than ten plants spread throughout the house.
5. Revise your "to do" list periodically. Keep your priorities on track knowing what tasks need to be done first.
6. Establish a schedule. If you decide that the laundry is to be done on Mondays and Thursdays, there is no room for debate. Stick to your established schedule.
7. Make your working environment more pleasant. Treat yourself to a new plant, better lighting, a new table covering. Doing the task can actually become a pleasure.
8. Reward yourself. If you are successful in meeting your goal, give yourself a reward. Take a walk, call a friend, go out to lunch.


Words by Dawn Ulmer, our own Project Manager
Photos by Remo Savisaar