Have you noticed how amazingly tidy your home or desk looks when you have an urgent task to do? Suddenly we get the urge to do the mundane clean of the sock drawer when that deadline is fast approaching. If you stop to think though, the power of this procrastination is quite some force!
I can sit here and exalt the virtues of personal development stationery helping you set goals, planners immeasurably organising your life and checklists prioritising tasks but ultimately we have to action these points, merely writing them down doesn’t always get them done. So how can we harness the energy of avoidance to achieve?
Now I know there are some things that can not be rescheduled no matter how you wish them away. I remember, even though I was a highly successful academic child, fantasising about falling down the stairs so hard my arms would break to evade my exams. Life as an adult means we have to face the realities of hard tasks and deadlines but we still exercise some degree of this escapism.
Some say the best way is to complete the hardest or most urgent task first, but while this can work, it really doesn’t address the procrastination problem and could mean nothing on the list gets completed, but the CDs are, at last, colour coded by genre! I suggest you give into the procrastination BUT complete other tasks on your list instead (if you have listed clean kitchen sink then we may have to look at how to write an effective to do list later!) You may still be left with the urgent task, but at least completing others on the list will increase your motivation through the sense of achievement and continue the flow of productivity.
In addition to this, use of sort of self-deception on yourself when compiling the initial list. Place at the top priority items which have significant importance, as much as the one you are dreading, but ones that may have a less immediate deadline, thereby taking the sting out apprehension. As you work through your list procrastinating the priority tasks you will find that you will not be racked with guilt and gain more perspective on the tasks.
“It’s all relative” is one of the best responses I’ve overheard from a manager facing a confrontational complaining customer and they were right. In the big scheme of things procrastination can be a positive force too!