I don’t like to waste time. If I don’t consciously take the time to relax I can be guilty of packing every waking minute of the day with tasks, sometimes several at a time. But occasionally an entire day can go by and I don’t get around to finishing that research paper draft or sending that pressing email that I wrote on the top of my to-do list. Whyyy?
More often than not I just got caught up doing other things. Important things, just not the most important thing.
The sure-fire way to stay busy but still not get important tasks done is active procrastination. Putting off the most important but most daunting task. In my case everything usually gets done in the end, usually by the time that it needs to be done, but often at the cost of unneccessary stress to meet a deadline and frustration at feeling busy but not getting anything “worthwhile” done. So when I catch myself making excuses not to get on and do something, here’s what I do now:
Some combative strategies for active procrastination
- Drop everything and do the task as soon as the thought occurs
- If it is not possible to do the task immediately, scheduling it and sticking to this is the next best thing
- Facing the fear: thinking through why the task is so scary, and
- Thinking through the worst case scenario –it’s usually not as catastrophic as expected when objectively viewed
- Embracing the fear –celebrating the fact that where there is discomfort, there is growth, challenge and progress.