Trust me, I can procrastinate with the best of you! Lately I’ve been tackling some tasks that I’ve put off for so long that, in the midst of doing them, I’ve actually exclaimed to myself, “I’m doing it! I’m really doing it!” It feels so good to finish something, doesn’t it? And it’s rarely as painful as we think it’s going to be.
So, how can we make it easier to “Just do it”? A little planning goes a long way:
- Be clear on your priorities and goals. What is it you really want and need to do? Are you putting off tasks and projects because they don’t support your current priorities and goals? It’s OK to purge items from your To-Do List!
- Schedule your To-Dos. Having a To-Do List is great. But WHEN are you going to do it? The best way to get something done is to schedule it. In writing. On your calendar.
- Allow enough time. Some things really need to be done a little bit every day, like exercise or writing a book. Other things can be done in one session, like gathering the info for your tax accountant. But if you don’t allow enough time you will feel rushed, and frustrated, and be reluctant to do it again.
- Break projects down into smaller tasks. It’s easy to write “Send Birthday Gift” on your To-Do List. But it’s also easy to put off because it’s really a project made up of a bunch of smaller tasks: Purchase gift (when are you going shopping? In person, or online?). Wrap gift (now, where is that wrapping paper?). Package gift (now, where is that address?). Take package to post office (what are their hours, and when can you go?). You don’t have to do it all in one day, but you do have to be aware and manage the steps of a project, no matter how large or small.
- Delegate. Maybe the task really needs to be done, but maybe you aren’t the best person to do it. Is it time to ask a friend or family member for help? Time to hire someone who is more skilled? Time to hire someone who is less skilled, but whose time is less expensive than your own?
- Identify the roadblock. If you aren’t getting something done it could be for reasons other than those already mentioned. Do you simply not know how to get started? Do you need to do some research first? Do you need permission, or cooperation from someone else?
- Give up perfectionism. Unless you are doing actual brain surgery, usually “good enough” really is! To paraphrase Voltaire: Perfect is the enemy of done. And Napoleon Hill: Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
OK. I’m done. This blog post isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough! What are YOU going to do today that you’ve been putting off?
Copyright 2012 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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Thank you – this was so helpful! I’ve had something on my list for several weeks now, which I estimated will take 10 hours. Even though I KNOW projects need to be broken down, because it’s a “C” priority, I hadn’t even thought about the specific actions to be taken. After reading your post I identified the first step, entered IT on my list, and marked it as a “B”. Once that’s done, I’ll feel less overwhelmed and more motivated to move on to the next step (and the first step isn’t even a big one!)
I’m so glad you found my tips helpful, Janet! Your project will be done in no time!