It’s silent and insidious. It frustrates our hopes and dreams. It tempts us to avoid the things we feel incompetent in doing, to put off the things we’re uncomfortable with, don’t like to do, or simply don’t care to do.
Its name: Procrastination.
In this past year, how many school- or life-changing inspirations have we received but failed to accomplish because we believed Procrastination’s lies?
Here are 7 actions that can help us defeat Procrastination:
1) Establish deadlines. Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish the work. A realistic deadline will inspire you to finish the task. After establishing this deadline, stick to it.
2) Be a finisher. Complete one simple task before starting another. Proofread the paragraph in the report before you go to lunch. Break big projects into smaller, manageable parts.
3) Build in a reward. Reward yourself when you finish a project or a portion of the project.
4) Be accountable. Have a parent or a study partner check on your progress when doing a long-term report or project. If they point out weakness in your progress, don’t begrudge them. Incorporate the good advice and push forward.
5) Say “NO” to less important duties. Focus on your goals and priorities and don’t let less important requests interrupt those key moments when you are about to finish a critical task.
6) Renew yourself. Maybe it’s time to pause and gather yourself for the last, big push. Play a computer game. Go for a walk. Get a snack. Refresh yourself and then go back to wrap up that critical task or project.
7) Eliminate perfectionism from your thoughts and vocabulary. Perfectionism is deadening. The trap of perfectionism will sap your energy, kill your creativity and encourage procrastination.
Bottom Line: Plan your work and work your plan. Establish realistic milestones with deadlines. Identify the parts of your assignment where you will be tempted to procrastinate. Start those difficult tasks when you are alert and have high energy. Build in rewards, encourage feedback from a parent, say no to less important tasks and toss perfectionism out the window! And if worse comes to worse, step away and renew yourself.
(reprinted and adapted with permission by Sue McMillin, With Time to Spare, www.withtimetospare.com)
About Sue. Sue McMillin is a professional organizer that John Jenkins, a teacher at CHESS, has worked for and with for over 20 years. As Sue’s website manager and editor, John has been privileged to read hundreds of articles and posts that she has written, as well as work with her in hands-on training of homeowners and business professionals around the country.
Sue has been published in Focus on the Family and various magazines and has written two books, one for organizing the home and one for the office. She is thoroughly biblical and committed to changing and improving lives and to make life easier.