Easy Tips to Overcoming Procrastination

“Procrastination is the grave where opportunities are buried.”

Let’s be honest.  We’ve all procrastinated over something at some point in our lives, right?  I mean, there are just those times we can’t make it over the hump. And that’s okay. Really.

And although it’s okay to procrastinate about some things (like making a major purchase or making a life-changing decision), we can’t let it be the status quo in our lives.  We have to learn how to overcome our regular practice of delaying or postponing tasks.

Why we procrastinate & how to overcome it

There are several reasons why we procrastinate when we are faced with tasks.  If we can understand why we are putting off doing what needs to be done, then we’re half way to the finish line!  Once we internalize why we procrastinate, then we can take the necessary steps to overcome our hesitations and start making progress.

Below are the top five reasons why people procrastinate and tips to help you with each:

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1. Fear – Fear is the number one inhibitor to people accomplishing great things.  I mentioned fear of failure and fear of success as reasons why we procrastinate. Here are a few tips to help you in this area:

  • Understand that failure is a learning opportunity, not the end of the world.
  • If we never fail, we never truly grow.
  • Don’t worry about the changes or responsibilities that come with success.  Relish in the success you accomplish and embrace what comes with it as a reward for your efforts.
  • Most often the fear of something is worse than the thing itself.
  • Do it afraid!

2. Perfectionism – Since no one in this world is perfect, no one is capable of producing perfect outcomes.  If we don’t undertake a task because we can’t be perfect or produce perfect outcomes, we are only shortchanging ourselves.  Try to remember these things:

  • Set realistic expectations for the task at hand, not perfectionist ones. Ask yourself, “What does good look like for this task?” and work to accomplish that. 
  • Give up trying to be perfect and be content with who you are and what you are capable of.
  • Let it go — if you see imperfection in your work, don’t dwell on it; leave it and move on.  Odds are you are the only one who will notice the imperfection.
  • Focus on the right goal. Is the end result a completed task or a perfect one? Most often we are aiming for the wrong goal.
  • Adopt the motto: Good & done is better than none!

3. Overwhelmed by the Task – So how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!  Give these tips a try to give you a jump start to your task:

  • Break down the task into smaller, more manageable pieces and start with the easier task first.  You could also try starting with the more difficult task first and get it over with, so that the rest of your project is a piece of cake. Either way you do it, the key is to break the job up so it doesn’t seem larger than life.
  • Get a grip on the size and scope of the task.  Does it feel as if the project is going to take forever?  The odds are it will take much less time than you think, so try to realistically assess the situation.  Realizing that the task will really only take an hour seems less daunting than 10 hours, or forever.
  • Try to do a little something every day towards finishing the job — remember, slow and steady wins the race.
  • Set deadlines for the smaller tasks and reward yourself when you meet them. This will give you motivation to keep going.
  • Heed the wisdom of Mark Twain, “The secret to getting ahead is to get started.”

4. No desire – Sometimes we just don’t feel like doing a task.  Unfortunately, we can’t be ruled by our emotions and feelings as they are unpredictable and are usually determined by our circumstances.  When we can’t muster the motivation towards a task, keep these things in mind:

  • Make it fun and be creative.  Unless you are required to complete the job in a particular manner, feel free to explore ways that would make the assignment less boring.  Remember boring is as boring does!
  • Try a different approach.  Maybe the way you are coming at it isn’t working, and trying it in a new way will help you get the job done. As I once heard, “The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.”
  • Check your motives.  Are you doing this because you have to or because you want to?  If it’s the former, then you may have no choice in the matter and will need to tackle the task head-on to avoid undesirable consequences.  If it’s the latter, then maybe you need to figure out if you should be doing it at all, and possibly let it go.
  • Ask for help. They say that two is better than one, and having someone work alongside you may be all the motivation you need. Or they may act as your accountability partner and give you the encouragement you need to accomplish your goal.

5.  No knowledge – If you are given a task you have no clue how to do, try these tips:

  • Ask for help.  You don’t have to be ashamed that you don’t know everything. Who does?  Scope out someone who does have the knowledge and ask them to teach you or guide you through the process.
  • Delegate.  Again, you don’t have to know everything.  Give someone else an opportunity to shine and use her skills and talents to accomplish the task.  She may get the applause for a job well done, but you’ll get the credit for recognizing her talent.
  • Take the high road and admit that you don’t know how to do it.  Someone may assume that you can accomplish the task and not realize you don’t have the knowledge or skills to do it.  By being honest, the task may be given to someone else and you’re off the hook, or whoever assigned you the job may teach the skills you need.  As they say, honesty is the best policy and you might just reap the rewards.
  • If all else fails, learn how to do it.  Yes, it will probably take you more time than you would like to spend, but in the end you’ll have accomplished the task and learned something new.

I know I said these were EASY tips, but after reading them they may not seem that way to you.  I understand; really, I do.  I was writing them for myself just as much as I was writing them for you.

More than anything, I want to encourage your heart.  Procrastination can be a difficult thing to overcome, but the good news is that it can be overcome.  It just requires you to start somewhere.  Hopefully these tips will start you on that road.  Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”.

Which tip did you find most helpful?  How will you implement it?

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

 

 

Five Reasons Why We Procrastinate

photo credit: L-T-L via photopin cc
photo credit: L-T-L via photopin cc

As I mentioned in my last post, March 3-9 is designated as National Procrastination Week. So I thought we’d talk a little bit about procrastination here at Getting Organized to Gain A Life.  Of course I love to share stories, so what better way to discuss our topic than with a true one? I heard this story several years ago, and sadly, it has stuck with me because it shows the havoc and regret that procrastination can cause in our lives.

A Procrastination Story

There was a dad whose teenage son had just turned 16.  Like any 16 year old, the son was desperate to get his license and a car to go along with it.  Knowing that his son would be begging for a car, the dad proposed a deal.  Upon receiving his license, all the boy had to do was read a book of the dad’s choosing and when he finished it, the dad would gladly discuss the car situation.  Of course, the timing of the proposal couldn’t be worse for the son as it was the beginning of summer and the last thing the boy wanted to do was read a book.  So the son let the book sit on his desk, but continued to hound his father about a car.  And all summer long the dad answered his son the same, read the book and then we’ll talk.  But the son kept putting off the reading and refused to complete the task that was asked of him.  Finally, the summer came to an end. The dad went into the son’s room and asked him about the book.  The son admitted that he never got around to reading it.  The dad walked over to the desk where the untouched book sat, and turned to the last page.  He held it up to the son and saw the shock on the young boy’s face.  Glued to the last page of the book was the key to a car, a car that was waiting for him as soon as he finished the book.

The tragedy of procrastination.  The son could have had what he wanted all summer had he done what was asked of him.  However, because he procrastinated and refused to do what needed to be done, he lost out on what could have been one of the best summers of his life.  How many of us can relate?

My Own Procrastination Story

I’m not here to point fingers, trust me.  I have issues with procrastination for a variety of reasons.  One of the areas that I struggle with procrastination most is with scrapbooking.  I love to scrapbook and capture the memories of our girls, our family travels, and our life in general. However, I keep putting it off and putting it off. Now my college girl is about to leave and all I have completed of her school years is PK-3, PK-4, and half of Kinder; I’ve never even touched the years before she went off to school! And the truth of that fills me with sadness and regret, because those are years I can never get back except through the memories I have in pictures currently stored in boxes. What good is that?

5 Reasons Why We Procrastinate

photo credit: emdot via photopin cc
photo credit: emdot via photopin cc

I think there are five main reasons why we procrastinate:

1. Fear – Whether it be fear of failing and not living up to an expectation (of our own making or someone else’s), or the fear of success and the worry that we may not be able to keep up with the same results time after time, fear is a major hinderance that paralyzes us from action.

2. Perfectionism – If we can’t do it perfectly, we won’t do it at all.

3. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the task – Sometimes the task is so daunting we don’t even know where or how to begin.

4. No desire – There are times when we simply don’t want to do it, so we don’t.

5.  No knowledge – Perhaps we don’t know how to do the task and rather than admit that shortcoming, we avoid the task altogether.

I’ll admit, fear and perfectionism are the two reasons I have procrastinated with my scrapbooking projects – although if I don’t get busy soon, being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task might have to be added to the list!  But I’m learning that if I can understand why I’m doing something, or in this case not doing something, then it’s easier to question my reasoning and try to work through it.

In my next post we’ll take a look at how we can overcome our reasons for procrastinating and address the tasks that are before us.  Until then, I hope you’ll consider the five reasons I listed above and ask yourself which of those is true for you.  Unless we get to the root of the problem, we’ll never conquer it.

What projects/tasks have you put off recently?  Based on what I shared today, why are you procrastinating? How can understanding your reasoning for procrastinating make a difference for you?

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

 

 

 

Friday Fun: Favorite Organizing Product

Calendar for friday on white background. Isolated 3D image

 

It’s Friday and I am so excited to share one of my favorite organizing products with you! But before we get to it, I want to give you a sneak peek at all the FUN we are going to have in March.  I call it March Madness Organizing Month.

I don’t know who actually designates these things, but according to my sources, March  is a busy time for organizing.  We start off the month with National Procrastination Week (Mar. 3-9), follow it with Organize Your Closet Week (Mar.17-23) and Organize your Home Office Day (Mar. 23), and round it all out with Clutter Awareness Week (Mar. 24-30 ). Of course, the organizer in me can’t wait to share wonderful tips, ideas, and inspiration to help you stop procrastinating, shape up your closets and home offices, and deal with your clutter.

You won’t want to miss a single post of March Madness — if you haven’t already signed up for automatic email postings this is a great way to insure that you won’t!

Okay, back to my favorite organizing product…perhaps you’ve heard of this before, but I just discovered it a few months ago and it has made a major difference with my drawer organization.  It’s called Miracle Fold and looks something like this:

What I love most about this handy-dandy folding helper, is the space it has created in my drawers!  My WH is a t-shirt fanatic; he has to have a t-shirt from every city, restaurant, and/or entertainment center we visit.  Needless to say, he has tons of shirts.  The problem was that they weren’t all fitting easily into his drawer, no matter how I folded them or rolled them.  And because he couldn’t really tell which t-shirt was which, he just wore whichever one was on top, meaning he kept wearing the same t-shirts over and over again.  But not anymore!  Thanks to the Miracle Fold his t-shirt drawer now looks like this:

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Isn’t it beautiful?  Not only was I able to make more space for WH’s shirts, but I was also able to color-coordinate them (an organizer’s dream), and fold them in such a way that he could see the different designs and vary his wardrobe a little!

Now I know what you are thinking…couldn’t you just fold them that way anyway? Believe me, I tried.  But the Miracle Fold does a nicer, neater job than I do, plus playing with it is so much fun!  And it doesn’t take more time than regular folding either – my college girl dared me to race her to see, and I was only a second or two behind her and way neater.  I think this handy-dandy helper would be a great way to get your younger kids helping with the laundry too.

If it’s something you might be interested in, you can check it out here on Amazon.    There are various types of this product so you may want to check out the different ones for your needs and budget. Disclaimer: I don’t get ANY money for promoting this product, not even for you clicking on the Amazon link — I promise!

Isn’t organizing fun?

Do you have a favorite organizing product? What do you love about it?

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Are You Using Your Time? A New Outlook on Time Management

New outlook on time management

Time Management.  It’s the latest rage in productivity.  There are books, blogs, and podcasts dedicated to helping us better manage our time.

But in reality, can we really manage time? Is it a possibility in a world that is always moving, always changing?

The truth is we can’t manage time.  If we’re honest with ourselves, our outlook on time management is distorted and needs a course correction.  All we can really do is learn to manage ourselves and how we chose to spend our time.

We have to learn to value and respect the time we have been given.  When we do that,  we are not only managing ourselves better, but ultimately managing our time better as well.

Valuing our time = Respect

I believe one of the biggest reasons we struggle with time is because we don’t have a true respect for it.

Respect is defined as an acknowledgement that someone or something has value.  Do we value the time we have?  Do we realize that each day is a gift?  If we did, then we would be very careful how we see our time and how we use it.

However, most of us mistakenly assume that time is a never-ending resource,  an infinite well that will always be available to us.  We act as if it is nothing but a concept to be manipulated, wasted, or controlled.  And then we wonder, why is time not on our side?

Show some Respect

So how do we respect time?  The same way we respect other people: by learning more about them, by being attentive to them, by being considerate of them, and by being fair with them.

Let’s look at each of these and see how we can translate them into our ability to respect time.

Learn more.  Have you ever tried to learn how to manage your time?  Have you reflected on how you are using your it?

As I said earlier, there have been numerous books, articles, and blogs written by people who have time management down pat.  Heed the advice of experts who manage themselves and their time and see how you can implement some of their strategies. Not everything will fit for you, but if you can find one or two tactics to improve how you use your time, that will pay off in the long run.

Understanding how you are using your time can be an eye-opening experiencing as well.  I encourage you to spend one week tracking how you use your time and see what you discover.  Nothing fancy,  just a simple spreadsheet monitoring your activities each day. By the end of the week, you might actually be surprised at not only how you are using time, but how you are wasting it as well.

Be attentive.  Do you know what you have to do each day, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?  Making a concerted effort to know what is in store each day will help you make better use of your time and give you a greater ability to accomplish more.  Plus, being attentive to how you are spending your time will help you to see areas that you may need to be spending more time on and others you need to be spending less.

Be considerate. When you think of being considerate, you think of being thoughtful.  Do you give thought to your time and what you are doing with it?  Are you spending time on the important things in life or do you allow your time to be suffocated by the trivial? Being purposeful with your time will allow you to live a life that is fulfilling and fruitful.

Be fair.  This may seem like a strange idea, but I think it is the most difficult for us to deal with in regards to time.  When we are fair with time then we are not underestimating it or overestimating it.  For example, most people think they will be able to do more than they can in an allotted amount of time, or they think that nothing can be accomplished in short amount of time.  We have to learn to be fair and judge time appropriately.

Think about it

When I think about showing respect to someone or something, I think about my wonderful husband. Because of my love and respect for him, I don’t abuse him, take him for granted, or ignore him.

The same can be said of my respect of time.  I try not to waste it, take it for granted, or ignore the fact that it’s finite and can’t be regained.  Because of this, I try to be as wise as I can and use it properly. I’m not always successful,  but with the right outlook I find that I can multiply my time to the best of my ability.

How about you… do you respect your time?  

How could this new outlook – one of respect –  make a difference in your

life and the way you manage your time?

Leave a comment and let me know!