Procrastination is defined as the action of delaying of postponing something. We’ve all been guilty of procrastination at some point in our lives. However, procrastination is seldom our friend.
A great deal of stress can be avoided when we prioritize—avoid putting off important and time- consuming tasks. Doing so results in our scrambling around to complete tasks at the last minute. Stress can compound the issue and create anxiety over finishing what must be done.
We sometimes put-off something until the next day or week, thinking we have plenty of time. However, as we get closer to our deadline, our heartbeats soar as we realize we’ve waited too long. Facing a looming deadline with the clock ticking creates stress. When we’ve had to rush and barely meet a deadline, we are seldom happy with the quality of our efforts or ourselves.
A better solution is to prioritize and take care of important tasks as early as possible. Easier said than done, but there are key steps we can take to avoid the eventual perils of procrastination.
Procrastination is Seldom Worth It (Why seldom—not always?)
Here’s why: Let’s say we have an important task due at the end of the week. One that requires time and effort to produce a result we can be proud of. We may think “Oh, I’ll begin that on Wednesday and have it done by Friday. That will give me time to do other things on Monday and Tuesday.” While this could be true, we could be spending time on low priority tasks or tasks that would be nice to do if time permitted, but could be eliminated with no catastrophic results. This is where seldom comes in. Also the need to prioritize, which is essential for a productive and satisfying life. We must face the fact— there are only 24 hours in our days (whether on a paid job or taking care of our personal and family lives).
By focusing on completing must do tasks first, we can train ourselves to beat deadlines. We must overcome the tendency to allow the easier, less time-consuming chores to eat up much of our valuable time. It is important for all of us to get “me time”. If we get the Friday deadline done Monday or Tuesday, however, we will have 3 full days. Knowing tasks are completed we have more for ourselves to complete other projects or relax. That’s valuable!
There are times when we’ve waited until the last minute. Think about how it made you feel. Rushing to finish something at the last minute is not only stressful, it often produces an inferior result. Do we really want to create something mediocre, or is our goal to show the extent of our abilities? We all want to do our best. Procrastinating is a great way to sabotage our ability to produce our best.
Create a schedule
Creating a schedule of tasks going up to your deadline is an excellent way to stay on track and avoid feeling stressed out. A schedule allows us to organize and complete all tasks required and gives us a reasonable timeframe. Setting out to complete the task early always us more time to do our best and time for leisure. it’s certainly okay to finish up the day a project is due. However, creating a schedule ensures we are in-charge of our destiny and allows us to get things done on your time.
Relish the Results
Okay—we’ve completed our task ahead of schedule and have time to relax. We are extremely happy with our work. Awesome! Taking a mental note of how great it felt, we can apply that strategy to our next task. We’re more likely to associate finishing a task up early with positive feelings. This will encourage us to complete the planning in the future.
While all procrastination isn’t harmful, it can keep us from doing the things we truly want to do. Make it a point to schedule time for the things you “want to do”. Put it in your calendar, the same as you’d do for a doctor appointment. The things you plan to do when you “have time” are destined to go undone. If you want to learn a language, or save up to visit a new place, or read a new book, don’t put it off until tomorrow! Start or at least schedule it TODAY!
Baby boomers and older adults who tend to put the job first, often neglect their basic personal needs. Millennials tend to do better on this aspect of life. While often criticized for their tendency to choose jobs scheduled around their life styles, it’s found that once millennials find that perfect job–one that suits their life style, they tend to work longer and harder than many of those before them. The result of choosing work they find fulfilling, creates the feeling that it’s not really work.
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