Monday, March 7, 2011

Ten Minute Fix: Procrastination

Anything worth doing is worth doing right and anything worth doing right is worth doing right now. So, if we want to accomplish something, why do we always put it off?

We procrastinate when there is an unpleasant task on the road to a larger goal. We want to have rippling muscles that’ll make the girls swoon, but we don’t want to do the push-ups to get us there. This leaves us in an uncomfortable state of limbo where we keep the goal around because we like the idea of it, but leave the action for another day that may never come. It will be better for our overall happiness if we either abandon the goal, or get to work. Those must be our only two options. This forces us to either forget those rock hard pectorals or drop to the ground and get started.

Here’s an exercise to turn that procrastination into concrastination, or maybe even anticrastination.

1. Write down one of the many things you may be putting off at the moment.

2. Write down the main goal of the thing you’ve been putting off. Will it ultimately lead to your graduation? Getting a good job? Making new friends? Becoming a pilot? Writing a pilot?

3. Consider these questions.
     a. Can I achieve my main goal without doing this thing I don’t want to do?
     b. Is it worth getting it done to enjoy the future rewards?
     c. Will it be done better, or yield a greater return if I start now rather than wait?

4. If the answer is yes to these questions, either get started right away, or pull out your planner and schedule a time to begin.

If the task doesn’t already have a deadline, make one, and jot that down in your planner as well.

Also, when you write down any unpleasant task you have to do, always include a project title that reflects your main goal. For example, instead of saying “50 pushups at noon” you can say “Develop Rock Hard Pectorals: 50 pushups at noon”. Other examples are “Crazy Big Commission Check: 50 cold calls at noon”, “Intimate knowledge of Seinfeld: 50 episodes at noon”, “Evaluate Chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore: 50 First Dates at noon”.

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