Procrastination: I’ll Come Up With A Better Title Later

Ever meant to have been doing admin, but ended up just making paperclip chains?

They say procrastination is the thief of time, but try telling that to a you who has a deadline and no idea what to do with it. The most likely outcome is that you end up Googling who first said it, and when. And then seeing how quickly you can read the entire internet.

Focus and motivation issues can come to us all. It can be because we are tired, or preoccupied. It can be for the daddy of all procrastination issues – that we have a task we don’t want to do.

It can be because we have ADHD – a condition doctors will happily diagnose in kids but don’t seem to think happens to adults. Whatever the reason, they sap our time and lead to poorly- or half-done jobs. So why does it happen, and what can you do about it?

Issue: You start, and start, and start again.

This is usually an accidental form of procrastination resulting from being unprepared. You throw yourself into the task and are just getting started when you realize you’re missing something. So you go and get it, and start again only to realize something else is missing.

In this case, lists are your friend. You’ll lose less time to making a list than you will to two or three false starts. As long as you don’t keep changing the font and printing it on different kinds of paper.

Issue: You don’t know where to begin.

This happens because the task seems so large that it’s intimidating. You procrastinate because you’re not sure you are going to be able to do it. It’s a feeling familiar to people with attentional issues. Some doctors will recommend medications that work on the brain’s attention centers. However, that isn’t a short-term solution.

Here, coffee is a helpful friend to have. It’s best to have a machine to make it because hunting around for the coffee things is another excuse to procrastinate. You can read top rated drip coffee makers here to find the best one. Then set it the night before you have to work so that you can wake up to a pot of your new best friend.

Issue: You keep stopping to do something else.

One major source of procrastination is having your mind in two or more places at once. You start to write an essay and your mind keeps cycling back to a news story that you want to keep up with. Or you get into a Wikipedia binge about a subject tenuously connected to your essay.

Time-blocking and prioritization are essential in this scenario. If your task requires you to be at a computer, set aside blocks of 90 minutes each for working on it, with 15-minute breaks to read other things. If it’s a task around the house, leave your phone in another room. The news story will still be there when you’ve painted that wall.

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