4 Ways to Conquer the Familiar Struggle with Procrastination

(c) Can Stock Photo | kennethFotos

When my kids were little it seemed like I never had enough time to finish anything. I tended to get everything done at the very last minute.

I blamed it on all the interruptions from my kids. And when you have more than one kiddo, there’s a bunch of interruptions. Some legitimate, some not.

Well, today I don’t have that excuse. Here’s what happened.

I have a major project to complete. I’ve set the deadline — aggressive but totally doable. My timeline is clear. I need one hour today to make good progress.

But

  • The dishes need to be unloaded from the dishwasher.
  • The kitchen needs to be cleaned up.
  • The stove top is dirty. Yuck! It’ll only take a minute.
  • I haven’t made the bed yet.
  • Let me quickly clear out my email inbox.
  • That’s a cool video…and so is that one and that one. Oh, look at that one.
  • Better take a shower and get ready for the day that way I’ll feel more like tackling that project.
  • My friends daughter had surgery yesterday, wonder how she’s doing?
  • Oh yeah, I need to check on the trash pick up after this storm since they still haven’t come.
  • I need to do those software updates.
  • Cool! I have 20 new Twitter followers.
  • Need to grab more wood for the fire. It sure is cold today and the fire feels great!
  • Brrrrng. “Oh hi Tammy. Yeah I have a few moments.”
  • It’s 12:30 p.m. already? No wonder I’m hungry better grab lunch.
  • Hmmm, what should I fix for supper?

Well, it’s now 1:00 p.m. and I haven’t started this project that really needs my attention.

Snickering voices whisper “Slacker!” And the guilt pounces.

I’ve done it again. Procrastinated.

Why? Because I’m overwhelmed by the enormity of the project and afraid I can’t do it well. Stink! There’s that perfectionist mask rearing its ugly head.

My friend, Daphne, from Well Done Life, calls this S.O.S. — Shiny Object Syndrome. I fight with this almost every day. And the objects don’t even have to be that shiny!

By the way, there are an awful lot of articles on Google about Shiny Object Syndrome! 136,000 to be exact. Oh, I digress.

I have a serious case of S.O.S.

Perhaps that’s why one of my favorite characters in Pixar’s movie, UP, is Dug the dog. We learn as the movie progresses that Dug the dog has one mission, yet continues to get derailed by squirrels. I relate. Squirrel!

Here’s 4 ways to derail procrastination:

  1. Admit to stalling and why. Talk to yourself honestly. Call the issue what it is so you can face it head on. What would your best friend say to you to get you motivated? Now, say it to yourself. Then put on your sunglasses so you don’t fall prey to that S.O.S.
  2. Tackle the elephant at your best time of day. We all know this. When I remember to actually practice it, I make huge strides forward. You and I know how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. For me, my best time of day is in the morning after breakfast. I’m awake and ready to go. So get moving. Take that first bite.
  3. Disconnect from Social Media. Gasp! That’s right. When I’m facing a looming project, I have to remove big distractions. Facebook is a one of those. My coach, Kary Oberbrunner, told me about an app, Anti-Social, that helps with this. Check it out. When I turn it on, Social Media distractions are gone. Good.
  4. Get moving. Just take the next step. Not the next mile or even the next three steps. One single step. You don’t have to know everything right now, just do the next thing to move forward in the project. It’s probably a very simple step. Just do it.
“Perfectionism is not as much the desire for excellence as it is the fear of failure couched in procrastination.” — Dan Miller

So, I’m behind but I’m tackling that project. Really. I am.

I can hear you snickering. :-)

Think I need a cup of tea.

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