It seems like New Year’s Eve was a week ago. It is hard to believe that January is gone, and we are looking toward the spring. It is not too late to start working toward those goals and ideas you had at the beginning of the year. Don’t give up on that idea, and stop procrastinating by breaking down your project into smaller pieces. It does not matter if the project is cleaning out a closet, organizing your desk, losing weight, clearing out clutter; the process works on any project or goal.
Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part because the goal or idea seems so big and far out of reach. If you haven’t done so yet, put that idea or goal into a written format. Then think about the first 3-5 steps that need to be taken in order to work toward the goal. Put those 3-5 steps onto your to do list, and just complete one step at a time. Each step should be some task or action item that can be completed in one sitting. This will kick off the “start” process, and it will make it easier to complete the first few action items. As you move through your project, put the next logical actionable item on your to do list. Procrastinating can suffocate you by filling your time with different tasks and urgent requests. It also causes stress and anxiety by keeping you from working toward your goal. The only way to stop the viscous, unproductive procrastination cycle is to actually get started.
Procrastinating can be caused by perfectionism too. You can tell if perfectionism is your challenge if you have been putting off a project for while, because you do not have time to complete it perfectly. You can overcome this by thinking about the maximum (perfect) level of performance, the moderate level of performance and the minimum level of performance necessary to complete the project. What would happen if you completed the task less than perfect or only did a little towards completion. Can you still get the same results or goal you were looking for if you were not perfect? For example if the goal is to do a report for your boss, and you do a perfect job you could spend all day on spreadsheets, charts, colored graphs and pages of explanations. A moderate level of performance might be to do the spreadsheets with a few brief explanations, and the minimalist might just provide the spreadsheet. All three levels complete the job, but two of them take a smaller amount of time.
The only way to stop the viscous, unproductive procrastination cycle is to actually get started. Before you know it, it will be Easter, and you will be so proud of yourself for all that you have accomplished.