In the PWK annual survey of 2016, I asked “What is the biggest thing impacting on your productivity at home?” and one of the biggest factors nominated by readers was procrastination.
I think we all suffer from varying levels of procrastination at some point. Procrastination can take a variety of forms, so before I share my tips for overcoming procrastination, I thought I would shine a spotlight on what procrastination can look like:
Productive procrastination – this is where you are not doing the tasks you should be doing, but are still working on things that need to get done. For example you may have a stack of household paperwork to complete, including bills at their due date, but you decide to declutter the pantry. Sure it was due for a declutter, but you are either going to have to attack that paperwork at some point on that day or there will be late fees to pay.
Organisational procrastination – you have a full day ahead of you, so you decide to write up a list of all the things you need to do. You colour code, use post it notes, make it look pretty and spend an hour organising your work before you even think about taking action.
Overwhelmed procrastination – the task or tasks you have to do fill you with such overwhelm, that you take any opportunity to avoid starting them or you don’t even know where you would start with them. Someone asks you for a coffee after school drop off and you accept. You take a quick look at Pinterest for inspiration for a recipe to cook for that night’s dinner but some how end up spending 45 minutes looking at summer wardrobe capsules.
Tired procrastination – you feel tired and have little energy, but you know you need to complete certain tasks. You start putting on a load of washing, but halfway through find a toy in one of the kid’s pockets, so return it to their room. While there, you look around the room, pick up a piece of writing by one of the kids and sit down and read it. Sitting makes you feel even more tired so you go the kitchen to make a coffee and check your phone while waiting for the kettle to boil. 30 minutes later the load of washing eventually is on and going.
Fearful procrastination – you have had a task on your list for some time. You need to ring someone or do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. You know you need to do it, you think about what you need to say or do. You consider options, run through scenarios, you begin talking up the task to be much bigger than it actually is. Then feeling quite fearful or anxious about the task, you decide today isn’t the day to do it because of reason a, b and c.
It is easy for me to write the above as I have in my time, ticked off every single one of these procrastination types and there are still moments where I catch myself procrastinating and need to redirect myself, but I have managed to significantly reduce the time I spend procrastinating through these strategies I have listed below.