I have discovered a new talent. I have become a master of procrastination.
I have a piece of work that I need to complete by the end of this week – in fact, I should probably have it all done and dusted by the time you are reading this post. I have known about it for a number of months. I did a bit of early planning before having the Easter holidays off with my children.
So, it should be obvious. Back to work on Monday – get it started. Have it nailed by the end of Tuesday, if I’m lucky, or at least the main components decided upon. Focus on what is really important. I can fit my other tasks around it this week.
And so – I can’t get on with it until my desk is tidy. Well, perhaps not tidy, but tidier than it is at the moment. I need to be able to reach the keys of my laptop, at least, not to bend my left arm rather awkwardly over the small pile that has grown there over my time away from my desk.
Other things to do!
But rather than tidy my desk, which, in turn, creates those horrible jobs like filing and putting books away, I feel the need to answer emails urgently. By the time I need to leave for the school run, my total achievement is having a much smaller pile of papers on the right-hand side of my desk. Not bad for a day’s work, eh?
Tuesday morning: yes, I must get on with it. No, not the big task, the tidying of the left-hand side of my desk. And then I feel I cannot possibly leave typing-up of the notes from a meeting a month ago a second longer. And so it goes on.
I’m sure I am not alone in all this! Are you like me? Can you justify and reason away why you tackle other things first? I feel vindicated when I remind myself that the piece of work has changed significantly since I agreed to do it, and that I have not been able to clarify the age-range of the audience. How can I possibly attempt it? I don’t even know what I am doing!
Making excuses for myself
In the end, after a fairly long lunch break (as I did work on one of my days off in the holidays, I am entitled to a longer lunch break today…) I finally go back to the open document. I decide to break it down into sections. I don’t need to tackle the parts that require a lot of thought and attention – if I just get on with the minor details around the edges, I will at least have made a start.
And that was interesting. The elements that don’t need as much thought actually helped me to focus on the difficult bits. What am I trying to say here? Could I break the mould and do it a different way? Naturally, I hadn’t left myself much time before today’s school run, but it has been working itself out in my mind without me realising. This evening I discover… I finally have a plan!
I found that talking through my frustrations helped. I didn’t need someone to kick me up the behind and tell me to get on with it, I needed someone to sympathise and to agree that I couldn’t possibly do it without the relevant information. I don’t know why my mind is so twisted, but just having someone validate my issues somehow freed me up.
Breaking it up
I could send you lots of links to people’s suggestions of how to avoid procrastination. I guess, if you are interested, you will Google the topic yourself. My experience has told me this: if you have an overwhelming task to complete, try and break it up into smaller sections. Make a list of them. Cross each one out when you have finished it. Give yourself a deadline. Reward yourself when you have achieved your goal.
So, I hear you ask. Have I finished it? Will I be ready? Of course I haven’t! I found something I really needed to do – to write this down for this week’s blog post. That’s the most productive way of spending my time right now, isn’t it?
Have you found yourself avoiding tasks? Do you have any ideas as to how to get them done?
For more posts like this, follow Secrets of Heaven on Facebook