If you have a procrastination problem, whether chronic or situational, one of these ways of thinking may be at the root. Read through the list to see if any sound familiar and then try the fix….right away.
- You’re waiting for it to be fun – It’s probably never going to be fun. Most things aren’t fun. But neither are most things hideous. If everything you need to do is hideous you probably need a different job.
- You don’t know what to do – Your to do list is so long it seems impossible to choose what to do first. Make it easier on yourself by narrowing your giant list down to just three things, then prioritize those three and get started on the first one.
- You don’t know how to do it –What is the first part of the task you don’t know how to do? Use your powers of rational thinking to figure out a likely place you could learn how to do that first step.
- You shouldn’t be doing it in the first place – This is actually a good reason for not doing something even if it’s important. If it should be delegated, delegate it and spend time on tasks you should be doing.
- You can’t focus on one thing – Having a lot of projects in progress means it’s easy to start working on one task and then….”squirrel!” You need to practice staying focused but first you need to recognize your tendency to get distracted. Discipline.
- You don’t care enough about what you’ll have when you complete the task (e.g., a mandatory report that no one ever reads. Think TPS reports from the movie Office Space. Sadly there’s a lot of this in corporate America.) – If you have to do this task whether you care or not, then you just have to gut your way through it. Review #1 on this list.
- Your environment doesn’t work for you – Your desk is a mess and it’s distracting. Your office is too loud or too quiet. It’s too hot or too cold. Take a moment to assess if this is your issue and fix it. If you can’t fix it (shared environment and everyone else is happy with the noise level or temperature) unfortunately it’s still not an excuse that gets you off the hook. Goes back to discipline.
- You forgot that you need to do it – If your to do hasn’t been captured somewhere other than your head, the likelihood that you’ll forget to do it is huge. Write things down, preferably in one place.