. Reduce Procrastination

Putting off a project is a classical response most of us have, especially if the project is disagreeable, long, or difficult.  How do we conquer our “elephants” in a timely manner?  Think of one project you would like to get done this next week and which you have been procrastinating up to now and then apply the following principles!

For instance, I have a dress that needs shortening.  It has been sitting in my sewing closet for two months now.  Now, why is it still sitting there?  I can think of several reasons.  This project, like many others which we delay doing, has usually caused us several concerns which keep it undone.

It is too big to comprehend. So many of the projects which we put aside and leave for another day just feel too big for us to conquer.  The secret here to is break it down, down, down until you have mini-steps both comprehendible and workable into your schedule.  In the case of my dress, I must make a decision about length, learn to ignore my feelings of possible failure, find some time to cut the excess hem off, and find another time to hem it again.

Rule #1:  Make a list of mini-projects to get the big project done and start on the first mini-project today.

It will take a decision to complete. That makes it hard.  I might make a mistake and ruin the dress forever.  So, how do I make the decision-making process easier?  Find another dress of a length which I like, pin up this dress to that length, and count the project done until next time.

Rule #2:  Make the hard decisions necessary to get the project going.  It will mean the possibility of making a mistake and ruining the project completely.

Ask yourself:  what will be the worst possible result if you goof it?  In this case, I might cut the dress off too short and then have to discard it all together.  If that happened, I would only be out the $20.00 I spent on the dress in the first place.  Is all this delay worth $20?

Rule #3:  Work through your fears until you can count the cost of failure and walk past that problem.  Then, get going….

It will mean employing a skill which may be both difficult and/or tedious: in this case, hand-hemming.  So, when would be the best time to do this tedious process?  I could put the dress, once I have decided on the length and pinned it up, next to the phone and hem it up next time Aunt Ruby calls because I enjoy our conversation and could multi-task.

Rule #4:  Find the next best time to do the next mini-project so it will not be so laborious.

So, the challenge this week is to begin eating one of those procrastination elephants in your life one spoonful at a time.   Break it down, make decisions, work past your fears of failure, and set convenient times for working on the mini-projects necessary to complete the giant challenge.  Get going now!  It really isn’t a very big elephant once you get out your spoon and start at it.  You will be surprised and pleased!

Find more helpful ideas in “House of Order” Handbook.

Photo from sxc.hu.  Used with permission.


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