While procrastination may successfully contain a task in a narrow window of time, it leaves little room for error. Why not ramp up, cross things off of your list and finish early? If you are ten steps ahead, any setback has a cushion. You will be less likely to fall behind. And from the mouth of a man who deserves the procrastination crown, trust me, it feels better to know you’re ahead. Stay ahead if you can.
When I started this blog, posts took around an hour per day. I was afraid what people might think, so I spent a lot of time on them. A year later, I care less about the craft of my posts and more about the ideas I want to communicate. Now, with a few exceptions, posts take me no more than 20 minutes per day. As soon as I surrendered my preoccupation with perfect writing, the thoughts flowed more freely, and it demanded far less of my time.
Censoring yourself not only compromises your character, it can compromise your time. Do not fail yourself or your ideas with perfectionism. Spit it out, fool.
[Post time: 3 minutes]
If you want to get something done, impose a deadline and have others hold you accountable. Simple.
In one way or another, everyone procrastinates. In college, I accepted my procrastination after a while and budgeted the final six hours before papers were due to write them. Deadlines won’t go away. So how can we optimize our lives and get more things done?
The first option is to impose earlier deadlines – quicker turnarounds. It makes sense: just get it done earlier. I see two problems with this, however. First, you (and those you impose earlier deadlines on) will call your own bluff. “I know it doesn’t need to be done until next week, so why is my deadline tomorrow?” Second, urgent new accelerated deadlines can interrupt the flow of other work you are making progress on. Constant bombardment of short-term work will push more important long-term projects to the backburner.
The second option is a bit more abstract: connect project milestones sequentially. Most human beings have trouble switching back and forth between projects, so why not line them up one after the other? Move on to the next task when the first is complete? Parents try to teach this at a young age: “Finish your homework first, then you can go play video games.” The benefit to this method lies in a recurring completion gratification. It feels good to get something done. It may start feeling good enough that it also feels good to start something new.
Line up your impending tasks on a to-do list, re-order them as you see fit (or most fulfilling), and let no one interrupt your conquest. Knock them out one by one. And find joy in beating the deadlines.
31 posts, 7,104 words, 311 unique readers, 1,721 article views, 27 states and 11 countries later, I have completed my first objective: blog every day in the month of March. It has been an extremely fulfilling experience, to say the least. Blogging has helped me:
- Learn to overcome procrastination on a micro task level.
- Develop the essential skill of writing.
- Communicate concepts otherwise lost in my head.
- Increase social media exposure.
- Reconnect with old friends.
- Introduce me to professionals in my industry and others.
It is amazing how much blogging can help you connect. My network is far more dynamic and rich than it was a month ago (and I do not think that has to do with the weather). I cannot say this enough, but a stronger network correlates with your personal net worth. You are more valuable if more people know you well.
I cannot recommend blogging enough. I will write soon about blogging tactics that have helped me build a daily audience.
I am on a role, have formed the habit, and have no intention of slowing down. I commit to blogging every single day through the remainder of 2011.
For every day I fail to blog in 2011, I will donate to charity $1 per total unique reader visiting my site.
And for those fooled, I am NOT moving to Europe. America is ripe with opportunity and I have much left to do!
In my post last night, I said I would start blogging on the 1st. I wanted to give myself time to get my act together before starting this daily chore. I was procrastinating. It’s a bad habit of mine, one that I need to overcome. No time like the present. Time to blog.
Patience brings peace to anxious souls. While there is something endearing about patience being the remedy to procrastination, patience does not solve the inherent problem. We are mortals and time is finite. Deferring projects, homework, goals or chores wastes time we could instead spend relishing in life’s accomplishments.