In October’s Woman & Home magazine there’s an article about how we should use the art of procrastination to allow time to reflect rather than react. We clearly can’t procrastinate about everything all the time otherwise nothing would ever get done, but there is a time for procrastinating to find the value of not rushing into things in order to complete them.
The article shares five tops tips from three experts in business, coaching and self-care:
- Lean in gradually – don’t be afraid to let your mind wander and take its time before reaching a decision or taking action. Make sure you have all the information and let it sit for a while before moving forward. Create space away from the problem, do something else that helps soothe your mind before allowing the solution to come to you.
- You time – don’t let yourself be pressured by others. Whether it’s committing to a night out with friends, a workplace problem or any difficult situation. Take a step back to assess the situation. Taking time out to think will help reduce stress and avoid rushing in to things you’re not comfortable with.
- Headspace haven – day to day business can be hectic and a challenge. Making a specific to do list allows you to free up mind space. Break the tasks down into smaller more achievable tasks and be clear what the action is.
- Be imperfect – You have limits, flaws and needs. When you feel under pressure ask yourself “Is this realistic?”, “How stressed am I right now?” “How can I break this down to be more manageable?”, “What’s the impact of reaching good enough but no perfect here?”. Reframe your goals and rather than aim to produce something perfect, make your new goal to take the first step or learn something new.
- Overload overthrow – we can all usually cope with a few things happening at the same time but when they are all needing our full attention it can become overwhelming. One suggestion was to ”batch tasks for efficiency”. Decide on the order in which to tackle each task and how much time you are willing to spend on it, and then prioritise what’s important and urgent, rather than being distracted by what’s just arrived in your in box.
- Small and slow – sometimes it’s hard to get started on a new task but that’s because we might still be mulling over how the tackle it and still planning it in our heads. The advice is to start slowing by scheduling bite sized time set aside to do things. Committing to a smaller task is much easier in terms of achievability and time constraints, but also provides a boost once it’s been completed and could spur you on to complete the full task. One suggestion was to break the task down into 90 days. Divide the year into 4 quarters and commit to focussing on a certain number of goals and tasks within that 90 days. Anything that doesn’t need to be done right now can shift to a latter quarter.
I can definitely be a procrastinator if there’s a task that I don’t really want to do, or I’m not sure how to start it, or it’s such a big task that I can’t see the wood for the trees on where or how to tackle it, or if it’s such a big task it seems like it’ll never end.
I have talked before about the need to declutter at home and it always seems such an overwhelming task to even start. I never know where to even begin with it. I’ve watched Marie Kondo and her idea on how to declutter and organise the home category by category rather than room by room and I did start to do that with my own papers and space. But for now, that’s still a massive procrastination brick wall for me.
How will you use the power of procrastination to tackle a problem?