How many of us have that pile of paperwork we need to go through, “To Do” list that certain things just never get checked off of, that phone call you keep meaning to make, Pinterest boards full of things you will do “someday”? Lets face it, there is something in everyone’s life that they are procrastinating about. As women we have several reasons that we procrastinate. Often we have so much on our plate that it just slips out to the edge and falls off. Over 20% of people struggle with procrastination. I even found a “great” book that you could buy and learn how to never procrastinate again (but we all know that would collect dust on the shelf of self-help books). Here are some interesting things I found out about procrastinating:
According to Psychology Today, procrastinators sabotage themselves. They put obstacles in their own path. They actually choose paths that hurt their performance.
Procrastination is learned.
There are big costs to procrastination. Health is one. Just over the course of a single academic term, procrastinating college students had such evidence of compromised immune systems as more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal problems. And they had insomnia. In addition, procrastination has a high cost to others as well as oneself; it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto others, who become resentful. Procrastination destroys teamwork in the workplace and private relationships.
There are three basic types of procrastinators:
- Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
- Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
In 1978, 5% of the population admitted to being chronic procrastinators compared to to roughly 26% of the population today (Steele, 2007). That means we are getting worse. We are learning to procrastinate more and more. Our society almost encourages it. Rush shipping. Last minute sales. Easier methods to do things super quick. How do we fight the norm and unlearn this practice? “They actually choose path that hurt their performance” Ouch, this means we have to actually choose different paths. It takes unlearning of behaviors and mindsets.
When I was a kid I always ate the food on my plate that I hated, first. (Saying no wasn’t an option) I got it out of the way and could enjoy the rest of my meal. I did the same thing with my homework. I always did my Spelling homework first and Math last. I got the subject I hated the most out of the way and then was excited to be able to get to my favorite subject, so it motivated me through the other homework. I still use this method (most of the time) with other areas of my life to help prioritize and motivate myself. There is no quick fix, but here are some tips of how I personally avoid procrastination:
- Make a list. Write down everything you need to do and then number it in order of priority.
- Weed out the unnecessary. If you have too much it will fall off the plate and never get done. Let go of those things now so you can get something done.
- Do the thing you dread the most first. Get it out of the way so procrastination isn’t an option.
- Have some sort of reward for when the list it done. Save the one thing you actually want to do that day for last. Have a favorite snack, book, TV show, etc waiting for when certain things are crossed off the list.
- Let go! If something keeps never getting done, let it go. (unless its one of those life or death things that need to happen). You are not wonder woman. There are somethings you just can’t do. If you keep holding onto something unnecessary that you will never get done it will just add worry and stress to your life.
There are so many things that we must get done everyday. In the midst of it all don’t let the little things slip away. Prioritize hugs and snuggles. Laughter and memories. Love and peace. At the end of the day, those will be what matters. Those will be the things that will make your life worth living.