I really hate it when people proclaim themselves to be a guru or an expert. But sometimes, there’s just no way around it. This is one of those times. People, I’ve reached GURU status.
It’s taken over 30 years of practice to perfect my skill. I’ve honed my craft and trained well, and I can officially call myself an expert in procrastination. It’s a title I’ve earned. I’ve paid my dues with plenty of missed appointments, birthday gifts bought on the way to the party and all too many science fair projects completed the night before they are due. (Side note: I thought I’d seen the end of those science fair projects after high school, but who knew I’d have 36 more chances to complete science fair projects as a mom?! Clearly, one of the greatest benefits of motherhood!)
For awhile, my special knack for procrastinating projects, tasks and generally everything left me frustrated and usually offering frenetic apologies to just about everyone in my life. I tried so hard to become a “Type A Get-It-Done” personality, I found it it to be way too exhausting. But somewhere along this journey, I’ve mastered the art of making procrastination one of my greatest productivity tools. It’s true!
And what kind of guru would I be if I didn’t pass along my wisdom to you?
Procrastinate Your Way to Productivity in Three Easy Steps:
1. Don’t trust your brain. There was a day (long before I gave birth to children) that I had total recall. I could not only remember anything and everything, but the central processing unit of my mind could search through its files and pull out the needed information in seconds. Now I find myself wandering the rooms of my house asking myself, “What did I come in here to do?” My brain has failed me too many times. I’ve tried fancy organization habits, I’ve carried the Franklin Covey planner, I’ve followed the Fly Lady and I’ve fallen quite short of perfection. I have discovered that simple is better. One master list. One master calendar. Don’t trust anything else. Everything gets added to the list, every date added to the calendar.
2. Give Yourself a Deadline The old saying is true, “If it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would ever get done.” This is the procrastinator’s anthem! The problem is, when you work from home or manage a household, there isn’t always someone giving you a deadline. So you find yourself laying in bed at night remembering the home projects that are undone, the personal goals unmet and the laundry that threatens to multiply and overtake you in your sleep. Us procastinators need a sense of urgency. One of the best ways I’ve created that is to force myself to have deadlines that loom over me. And I don’t mean just a deadline that you write down, but rather one that will be exposed if you miss it. Sometimes I invite friends over to just to make sure my house gets cleaned. Creating a deadline that affects more than just you will bring accountability and often that needed sense of urgency to spring into action.
3. Procrastinate Your Yes We often get in the habit of saying yes to too many things. Every project that comes our way, every committee that needs a member- even us procrastinators are guilty of saying yes too often. However, when others are asking for our time and energy this is the best time to embrace our inner-procrastinator. Waiting to answer or commit to something allows us to see what is really important. If we will adopt the habit of mulling it over, thinking it through before we commit, we’ll find that not only do we say yes to less, but we feel empowered as we’re taking ownership of our time and schedules.
So, procrastination for the win? I think yes.