Hi, my name is Mary, and I’m a procrastinator. A major one. I usually defend it by saying that I always get what I need to do done. I usually even get it done well. The problem is, I end up much more stressed out about whatever it is I should be doing than I would be if I just bit the bullet and did it right away.
As The New Yorker writer Susan Orlean said, “I think of myself as a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done.” That’s me, exactly. Take right now for instance. I have a number of pretty big things looming over my head, yet I just spent the last hour or so wasting time on Buzzfeed. This happens almost daily. Call me crazy, but I’m a sucker for those quizzes and lists.
In the last hour, I have learned 31 Ways to Make Chipotle Employees Hate Me. I am happy to report that I may be their star customer. I know what I want, order it quickly and properly, and get out of the way. You’re welcome, Chipotle employees.
I also took the crucial quiz, Which Children’s Book Character Are You? In case you are wondering, I got Curious George, and I’m pretty excited about that. I love that little monkey’s shenanigans.
I watched Jason Segal and Neil Patrick Harris sing an ABSOLUTELY EPIC rendition of “The Confrontation” from Les Mis. It was two of the best minutes of my life. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crow have nothing on these guys.
There were other things, too. It was ridiculous.
Procrastination has always been something I struggle with, but it is definitely worse when I need to do something that doesn’t excite me. Since I am on this journey to be a better person, I realize that I must tackle this issue head on. Just because I am capable of producing quality work while crunched for time, doesn’t really mean that I should.
Side note…is doing research about how to stop procrastinating a way of procrastinating? Because I just did that. Oops. My research (aka google-ing) led me to a blog post by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. (one of my favorite books that you’ll see mentioned a lot more in the future!)
She lists 8 tips to stop procrastinating. (Yay, another list!) Feel free to check out all eight, but I think two of them will prove to be most beneficial for me.
Suffer for 15 minutes. For me the hardest part is getting going. If I tell myself to suffer through it for 15 minutes, I will likely realize that it’s not as bad as I anticipated, and I’ll keep going long after 15 minutes pass. On the other hand, if it is really miserable, at least I would have tackled a good chunk of it in that 15 minute timeframe. I’ll then talk myself into 15 more minutes a bit later.
Do it first thing in the morning. Like most procrastinators, I tend to do the exact opposite of this. I’ll do anything else I can think of before I tackle the task that is looming over my head the most. Fact is…Buzzfeed can wait. (I’ll probably still be Curious George in the evening.) By taking on the toughest thing first, the rest of my day will likely go much smoother. Just do it.
I’m so impressed with people who can get their work done without the mind games. Teach me, oh wise ones, your secrets! Any tips?