BY KENESHA COLLINS OCTOBER 10th, 2019
When I was in high school, I took a speech class. My teacher always gave the class plenty of time to write our speeches. I would wait until the last minute to write my speeches, or I wouldn’t write them at all. I would wing some of them. By senior year, I had already established myself as a gifted writer and a natural at speaking on the fly. I would get B’s and C’s consistently which was satisfactory to me. My teacher grew tired of my antics over time. She wrote a long note on one my papers. She said I was a good writer, but she could tell I rushed through my papers, and if I continued this pattern it would “kill me in college.” Since I got pretty good grades, I never paid her advice any mind. In college, I continued to wait until the night before my papers or speeches were due to write them.
22 years later, my teacher’s words hold a lot more weight than ever. I am approaching middle age, and I have yet to accomplish some of my lifelong goals. It’s disheartening to know several productive years have gone by and I could have utilized them to the fullest. It has been extremely difficult to break a habit I’ve had much of my life. I’ve created a few practices to help with procrastination that seem to be working, and maybe they will work for you.
Do the Hard Stuff First
One of the main reasons why I procrastinate is I simply just don’t want to do certain things. I don’t want to use the difficult system at work that always crashes. I don’t want to scrub the toilet or mow the lawn. This year, I began programming myself to tackle the hard tasks the first part of my day. When I get to work, I knock out all the tasks that are a pain in the butt first. I work late, so I do everything I can to make the last 2 hours of the day my own.
I Compartmentalize My Day
Whether I’m at work or home, I designate specific times for the things I need to do. At work, I must do a lot of reports and research. I work on items that require quiet and concentration towards the end of my day. The calls start to die down, and my chattier co-workers are preparing to leave for the day. At home, I group all similar tasks together. Washing my car in this Tennessee heat is no joke. When I’m finished, and already sweaty and dirty, I clean my toilets and floors.
I Know My Limitations
There are certain days that require more energy than others. Some days are packed from sunrise to sunset. I know how much I can handle on any given day. If I set aside days to write, I normally don’t leave my house. Traffic in Nashville is horrendous, and there are a lot of bad drivers. I get frustrated on the road and will lose creativity. At work, when I have a full calendar, I will step away from my desk several times a day to stretch my legs. The weather is wonderful now that fall is here. I normally go for a short walk to clear my head.
What do you do to tackle procrastination?
Kenesha Collins is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. She has written and edited for Evansville Parent Magazine, Keep Evansville Beautiful, and WordSmooth. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kenesha_collins.