I am sure many of us have fallen prey to procrastination and the reasons may not always be so clear, but one reason that probably is common to all of us is laziness and simply not wanting to do something when it is supposed to be done. The ‘thing’ that we should be doing doesn’t get done for whatever reason and soon it becomes a problem that is out of our hands and could lead to anxiety and stress which obviously can further overwhelm us! So, its really a vicious circle of unwanted events that we often get trapped in.
You know how I started thinking about this? A few days ago, Liz Strauss from Successful Blogs had posted on her blog about the Blog Day 2007 – which was supposed to be on August 31, but Liz posted it on September 3rd! Liz was generous to include me in the list of blogs she introduced on this day and I was thinking that I knew about this event a bit in advance but kept doing other things and thinking I’ll get to it but never did, and then I completely forgot about it. I read it on Liz’s site and felt a bit ashamed of my neglect but then got busy in doing other things and it never got done! So I went through those emotions I mentioned up there, guilt, anxiety and then stress and all. But because this is blogging, and no one is standing with a gun on my head, I very conveniently told myself “Good things happen to those who wait and, that’s why I procrastinate” … well, we all know there are times when not doing some things on time could get us in serious trouble so it is important to look at how to solve this problem.
As they say, acknowledging the problem is the first step toward solving it, so then, lets find out
Why do we procrastinate?
See, in order to make that Blog Day 2007 post, all I needed to do was to introduce to you 5 new Blogs, preferably the ones that were different from my own culture, point of view and attitude (per the site’s instructions). I visit many blogs all day long and many of them are very different than my own point of view and many are from different countries and cultures, so how could I not be diligent in taking notes and making links and posting a great post?
I procrastinated because either 1) I am too lazy to do what I am supposed to do OR 2) I would rather do that is more enjoyable at this time OR 3) I have poor decision making skills.
We don’t really need an example of number 1, as we all can be lazy at times! But for number 2, As I sat down to write this article, I opened my FireFox browser and voila, I have six tabs already set to open on the browser that take me to more interesting stuff to read and enjoy than what I am writing and it is easy to get distracted. And then there is StumbleUpon. It is too easy to get distracted on SU. (Next post idea on what is on my home page). The 3rd reason is all too familiar to all of us also. Not being able to make a decision on which task to do first if we have a lot on our plate, not being able to assign priorities to projects can make some of the more important one fall through the cracks.
Ways to overcome it
- Once the cause of not doing something is known, it becomes easier to take some action to overcome the problem. Interruptions such as mindless Internet browsing and television watching takes up a lot of the time and the only way to remove these is to simply shut them off and try to do something else.
- Keeping short term goals and to-do lists will break lengthier projects down into doable fragments that are more achievable.
- Prioritize the to-do lists with most important tasks on top obviously but also by assigning more time for them.
- I work better under pressure, when strict deadlines are approaching, which is usually when I wait till the last minute. That is when I am able to focus best and I know I don’t have the time to get distracted. And I am able to produce quite good results at this last minute, and I am sure many people do the same! But there is one huge drawback to working at the last minute, there is no time to review the work. So starting to tackle those to-do lists early will get you through them easier and leave plenty of time to re-visit the results, without feeling overwhelmed by them.
- Have someone else check up on your progress. In blogging when we are participating in group projects or carnivals, we are able to produce results on time because there is a deadline to meet and we know there are other people working on the same project and we want to be part of the community. Once the projects or carnivals are over, traffic reduces, and we feel like no one is reading our blog anyway, and likelihood of falling behind in posts is much more. Peer pressure works great in blogging.
So knowing what makes us want to put off important tasks and then tackling that particular aspect of our lives with a little bit of organization, time management and prioritization, could set us on a path to producing more and probably blogging more and writing needed posts on time! I have already missed the blog day as you know but for this particular celebration, its the the intention that I want to believe in more than just one date out of the year, so look forward to the new blogs introduced here soon.
If you have also missed the Blog Day 2007, go ahead and introduce 5 blogs that you have been reading.