At this time of year more than ever, we need strategies to overcome procrastination. Do you have too much to do at this time of year? We all lead busy lives and then suddenly, we’ve got even more to do such as Christmas shopping, wrapping, writing and posting Christmas cards, buying a tree, decorating. The list can seem endless. Also on top of this, many of us are still working. When we feel that we have too much to do, it can have the effect of making us struggle to actually get started and do what needs to be done.
So how can we get out of this state? Below are a few tips that can help you to overcome procrastination and get started on those tasks that seem unsurmountable and help you to make progress before Christmas.
Break tasks into smaller chunks and schedule them
Christmas shopping can seem a huge task, especially if you’ve got a lot of presents to buy. Make it more manageable by breaking it down into smaller tasks. For example tomorrow you’ll buy/order your childrens’ presents, the next day your Spouses, the day after your siblings etc. You can also wrap them as they arrive, to make that task seem not as onerous.
Schedule just enough time to get started
Christmas card writing can seem a huge task but if you just get started it won’t seem so bad. Schedule half an hour this evening to make a start on them. The chances are that you’ll quite enjoy the task once you get into it and might even end up writing them all. Even if you don’t, you’ve written some, which is progress.
Work out which part of the task is the worst
There might be a small part of a task that you’re really dreading and that might be holding you back from even getting started. If you could remove this task from your responsibility, you can then make progress on the rest of it. For example, if you’re dreading working out your mileage this month, so that you can get your Accounts up to date before the Christmas break, task this job to someone else. You can then work out profit/loss and the other end of month/year tasks that need doing.
Pick the best time of day
If you’re more alert in the morning, there’s little point in you trying to work out your Christmas finances in the afternoon. Work around your energy and concentration levels. We often fall prey to procrastination when we’re tired or lacking in energy. So eliminate the time you spend staring into space by planning your life and workload around you.
Be equipped for the task at hand
If you’re planning on baking lots of Christmas cakes and nibbles, make sure you have everything you need before even contemplating it. When we’re procrastinating, obstacles to progress are not conducive to productivity and can tend to de-motivate us.
When we’re talking ourselves out of getting started on a task, promising ourselves a little reward can really help. For instance, we can promise ourselves a chocolate for every present we wrap, or a glass of wine when we’ve completed all of them. Whatever it takes to get us over the initial obstacle of making progress, will be worth it, as we’re more likely to get going and finished.
There is still time for you to get everything done before Christmas. You just have to make an attempt to overcome procrastination and get started. The more you get completed now, the smoother your Christmas will run.
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Till Next time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor