Procrastination

One of the factors in late delivery of projects is procrastination.  We are all guilty of it at some time or another.  There are people who are chronic procrastinators and others who seen to rarely procrastinate.

So why is it a part of our daily life?  Most of us tend to avoid things that are unpleasant, complex, or overwhelming.  When it’s difficult to get our heads around what needs to be done we delay getting started.  If it’s a task we dread doing most of us will stall until the last possible moment.  Here are two ways you can get a handle on reducing or eliminating procrastination from your life:

  • Tackle unpleasant tasks in small pieces and short time segments.
  • Do a small task that will get you moving in the right direction.

A key to this is to take the big, complex or overwhelming items and looking at what steps you must take to get them done.  It’s easier to take a single step then to complete a project.  Besides, projects are really just a series of completed tasks, so take the time to evaluate what must be done step-by-step.

For example doing your taxes is a project most of us have to do each year and it can be unpleasant, complex and overwhelming.  If you break it down into pieces that can be more easily managed it’s really not so bad:

  1. Collect all your income statements, the W-2’s, the dividend and interest statements, etc.
  2. Enter those into the forms you are using (I love tax software for this chore).
  3. Collect all your deductions, taxes paid, interest income, charitable donations, and so on.
  4. Enter those into the forms.
  5. Review it all for anything you may have missed.
  6. Do the final calculations.
  7. Sign and send.

When you look at it this way it’s not quite so daunting of a task.  I tend to break down the deductions into multiple steps; the charitable donations always take me longer so I do it as a unique step.

Apply these principles to the other projects or overwhelming things on your plate and you will find it easier to get things done and avoid the procrastination trap.

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