How do you handle an obligatory task that you have no desire of doing? Are the first words that pop into your mind “I’ll do it later” or do you look at it as a challenge to get started on right away? If your initial response is to put it on hold as long as reasonably possible, it may be a sign of procrastination.
Why do we procrastinate?
At one time or another, we all procrastinate or put off accomplishing specific tasks for individual reasons. We may lack motivation because they appear to be dull or unenjoyable, have little relevance to us, or are seemingly beyond our scope of abilities. Our reluctance may be well founded, but this will not erase the fact that certain tasks must be completed…and most likely by us.
Overthinking the negativity of starting a task at hand is a good way to increase your stress level and waste precious time and energy. So, why not eliminate the toll on your emotional and physical well-being and get the task done?
What can you do to tackle a “must do” task without the drama of procrastinating?
(1) Put the task on your “to do” list and fully commit to its completion.
(2) If you keep skipping over the task for lower priority ones, delve into why and what can be done to change your attitude.
(3) You may want to break the task down into smaller, more doable, steps. It will become less overwhelming if you do.
(4) With the end in mind, plan out your course of action to accomplish the task in a way that maximizes your efficiency.
(5) Seek the help and resources you need to get the task done.
(6) Minimize any distractions like texts, television, or social media that can draw you away from your work.
(7) On some occasions, getting started can be more agonizing than actually doing the task. Experience how much easier a task can become once you get into it.
(8) Tune out your excuses for not doing something and focus on why you can. A “can do” attitude will greatly improve your outcome.
(9) Make the experience pleasurable by playing your favorite music or rewarding yourself with a treat after completing a segment of the task.
(10) Aim for excellence, not perfection, as you maneuver through the process of fulfilling your obligation.
No matter what may be, your work is a signature of who you are, so take pride in what you are doing.
Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.