Are you a procrastinator?
I know I tend to be. I need a deadline to get me into action. Writing essays for my ordination training has been a case in point. We get three months’ notice and I only start a month to three weeks before the deadline saying it helps me focus.
The surprising discovery I have made is that this attitude is actually linked to perfectionism. You avoid starting the work because the project feels so big and overwhelming and you think you will need so much more information in order to make a start, that you don’t start! Then the adrenaline kicks in towards the deadline and you pull out all the stops to make a good job of it.
Quite draining and not sustainable. Especially if you are in a busy job with lots of big projects on the go!
Once you recognise what is happening, you can take action to counteract this. For me, knowing that it is a form of perfectionism changes the way I see it and makes me want to tackle it.
For procrastinators, breaking the project down into small tasks and doing 30 minutes or an hour on it regularly can break the habit. Asking “What is the very next step I need to take to move this forward?” – not to get halfway through it, just to move it forward a tiny bit.
It will feel unnatural and strange, but it will mean that you are not rushing like a mad thing at the end. It will also help you see that the task is not as big and overwhelming as you thought it was.
I’m putting a set time aside each week now for my essay writing!
Please share how you handle your procrastination in the comments!