The final word on procrastination
And a few more after that…
As I put pen to paper, speaking figuratively of course, I am recruiting every anti-procrastination muscle I have been attempting to develop and am endeavoring to impart in this short and hopefully entertaining story. So if you are about to dispatch this wisdom until some later date, and I’m pretty sure you are, I can promise you a reward at the end.
First of all, I’m pretty sure we all know what procrastination is, but for those of us unconsciously deplete of this virtue, procrastination is this: putting off until later what we know we should be doing right now. We are prophesying in our minds that the act of actually doing this “thing” is less tolerable than carrying around the burden of knowing we are tasked to do it at some future day or time.
So this is what I did to end my snowball of yesterday’s and yesteryears’ activities ending up on today’s calendar:
Step 1: Get Clear
We must get clear on what it is we are to do in order to do it. This is not some Jedi mind trick but just identifying what you must do and materializing it into a physical form. Use an app for your “to do” list or grab a pencil and paper. You need to make a list of what you’re about to put off until tomorrow. The shorter, more concise the list, the better chance you have of dispatching with said list. Make this list in the morning or just prior to going to bed, as we seem to have the most mental clarity at these moments.
Step 2: The Action Step
The first thing you should know about taking action is this: the smaller the better, consistency will always trump intensity in the end. If you can have consistency with intensity you have a super power not commonly found in your fellow man. For the rest of us mortals, small steps lead to great distances. These steps can be seemingly inconsequential to the final outcome. For instance, think of this small bite: rather than the mental torture of projecting yourself 5000 telephone poles abreast in a 10K, just put your sneakers on, then grab your iPhone and ear buds, and walk out on the front porch into the street. Before you know it, you are breaking into a jog and done with that short jaunt you seemed less likely to do than trigonometry homework. Small sips of the perceived poison are much more palatable than the whole chalice. If you have to clean the garage, drag your tired carcass to the garage, grab the broom, and start sweeping. See where I’m going with this? Just the next step and the next small step leads to finally removing this egregiously burdensome task from your ill equipped perception.
Step 3: Bask in Glory of Your Newly Acquired Awesomeness
So here is where positive reinforcement (guilt and shame’s smarter, wittier, better-looking brother) enters the room, and you can’t help but take notice. We are too quick to glue heavy and negative emotions to ourselves when we barely earn them. Now is your opportunity to really grin at this confidence inspiring tasks you just vanquished on your journey to arête (excellence). Grab your smart phone/tablet or pen and paper, construct your list and initiate the next step because, now you know, the next step is the only step you ever have to take!