How many things did you’ mean’ to do this week, but didn’t?
If you’re a busy person with the usual commitments of work, kids, parents, friends, sport, household chores etc. etc. I reckon the minimum is four. And if you’re female you’ll contend that it’s at least ten and counting!
The reality is that we all intend, plan and even promise faithfully to do things that we repeatedly put off doing. Then; depending, on our mentalities, we either shrug and reach for the TV remote, sigh and simply copy our to do lists onto next week’s calendar or lay in bed and fret fruitlessly and sleeplessly!
Because procrastination is a peculiarly powerful human trait.
In some ways it’s a natural reflection of our humanity. Few of us are super organised, super efficient and always true to our word, probably because we dislike the people who are! But it’s worth taking a minute or two to think through the consequences of our ‘to do’s’ taking so long to become ‘done.’
1. It’s worth questioning how do we prioritise what we need to do?
Habit and comfort zones, as well as deadlines and imperatives often dictate our actions. Most of us prefer doing the stuff that is easier /familiar than the tasks that are a challenge. But repetition squeezes out the opportunity for change and real momentum. One tactic is to do the one thing you’re dreading first. Get the monkey off your back now and with gusto and see what happens!
2. Also it is worth remembering that whilst we are procrastinating, others aren’t!
That can either mean that someone else is taking up our slack; be it at work, home, socially etc. Or our competition, work colleagues, even our kids are getting ahead with life while we phaff about. To tackle this it’s helpful to think about the benefits of starting/ completing any given task. What benefits will we gain, what worry will we quash, what opportunity might we open up? Ultimately getting stuff done feeds our self worth and that makes us happier and less self-critical.
3. Speaking from personal experience I also advocate committing your to do’s to paper/screen. [In my case a post it note on my lap top, as well as a task list.]
For me, a to do in my head is only half a commitment, and we know what happens to those!!! So put it down in black and white..,and if you catch yourself writing down something you know you have already done, just to be able to tick it off again…welcome to the pack.
4. Which brings us to thought number four. How many things are on your to do list?
Most people do the big imperative stuff automatically; we work hard, win business, care for our families, pay the bills without needing a list, without ever procrastinating which leaves us lists full of pressing trivia that depress rather than guide or inspire us. A better approach is to re think what our lists are for. My advice would be keep the day to day stuff off it and be more ambitious/ creative.
Think longer term, think bigger and think beyond the confines of our routines! I divide mine into the four key areas of my life: Family and Friends/ Work/ Volunteering and Self. Then I look at the balance, realise it is wrong and plough on with an imperfect, but at least self aware notion of what I am trying to achieve.
On which note I’m pleased to be able to report that one of my to do’s is now done. Write my Blog for leap like a salmon Done!!!
By Caroline Bond
One of our community experts for leaplikeasalmon.com