The art of procrastination . . .
The one thing I am fabulously brilliant at, is procrastinating . . . I can do it at any time, and anywhere . . . I’m a natural born procrastinator . . . and you know what? I’m comfortable with it!
I wasn’t always this brazen about my procrastination skills, and it’s taken a lot of time (and hard work), to get to the stage where I’m happy with them.
The penny really dropped when I read the fabulous book by Sark ‘Make Your Creative Dreams Real,’ (www.planetsark.com) which actually said it was OK to procrastinate . . .
‘What?’ I thought, 'how can this be?'
The more I read, the more sense it made to me – everyone procrastinated, and I wasn’t alone, and there was no cure for it. Most of all, I came to realise was that it was a trigger for major anxiety for me . . .
At the age of five I would bimble around in the morning before school, doing anything other than getting ready, and then have a major panic that I would be late . . . I can still remember arriving sobbing because I thought I was going to be late, and the last one in the class . . . I was never late, but was always the last one because we lived further away than everyone else, and had to drive. . . (my poor mother, I often wonder how she coped with this dreamy, highly strung individual . . .)
Later on in life, I would set out the most wonderful revision timetable, make flash cards to go in the new card index box that I had decorated, then go into a major tailspin the night before an exam . . . I always passed, but always felt guilty that I could have done better if I had put more into revising. . .
And here I am today . . . once again putting everything possible off, so I can write this . . . The difference is that now, I have a structured approach, and know that I need this to help me day to day.
So, here are my top tips for controlling the art of procrastinating . . .
1. It’s OK to procrastinate! Read Sark’s fabulous book –she has many other wonderful books, all written and illustrated in her own particular style . . . my other favourite of hers is . . . actually there are three, I just can’t choose . . . ‘Glad No Matter What,’ ‘Prosperity Pie’ and ‘Eat Mangoes Naked.’ All are available via Amazon.
2. Be effective with the time you have. Write a list of the most important tasks, and see which ones will take the longest, and which ones you can put off to another time . . . then write a note next to those ones, detailing how it will impact on your life and the knock on effects if you don’t do them now – always a fabulous wakeup call! It’s amazing how much you can deceive yourself, when push comes to shove . . .
3. Reward yourself. The most important thing here is to cross completed tasks off the list once they have been done – this gives you a huge sense of achievement . . . And what if I haven’t managed to do anything on that list? I add something that I have done, just so I can cross it off - daft I know, but it gives me that fabulous feel good factor!
4. Don’t overload yourself – I am infamous for taking on everything I can, as I can multitask like no one’s business . . . This is great, as I love being busy, but what it’s not great for is getting things done . . . So the key here is to say no when I feel comfortable with doing so . . . and give yourself effective timelines when you cant . . .
5. Be kind to yourself. Over the years I have realised that my moods and health are integral to my effectiveness – if I’m feeling low, then there is no way I’m going to get anything done. So, a big thing is to pick your moment when you know you are going to be completely effective . . . And if you are feeling low – do something you want to! Be kind to yourself!