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Pro…cras…tin…a…tion

May 5, 2011

Organize the garage? I’ll get to it.
Finish the novel I started writing? One day.
Clean out the junk drawer? Tomorrow.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. For many, putting things off, adding it to a pile or waiting for a rainy day is much easier than actually tackling the project. But it doesn’t bring much satisfaction now does it?

An email from Prathamesh, a recent MBA grad in India, asked me for some advice. He wants to become an entrepreneur and has several ideas, but says his “laid back attitude is taking its toll.”

The hardest part of any project – whether a business venture or even organizing the garage – is simply taking that first step. While it’s great to want to become an entrepreneur, a huge part of being your own boss is being able to get things done. Without someone standing over your shoulder with a deadline, it’s easy to whittle away the hours playing Angry Birds. So, what to do? I’ve put together a few steps to get you started in accomplishing your goals, whether it’s a job venture or organizing a room in your home.

1.  Say you have several ideas or tasks to do. Write them down.

2. Highlight the one idea (or task) you’d like to accomplish first.

3. Write out a list of what you need to do to accomplish that idea. If it’s a business venture, I would assume there are calls to make, a website to set up, money to secure, research to be done. Creating a TO DO list breaks down what you need to do into easier steps to follow instead of an overwhelming task, and therefor makes it easier to complete. (The same can be done for a garage that needs to be organized. The steps could be: buy garbage bags, go through sports equipment, get rid of old paint cans, get bikes tuned up, etc.) By having a list, you can tackle one thing at a time.

4. Give yourself a deadline (like in school!). Maybe one or two things a day, or give yourself a time deadline. Say to yourself, I’m only going to go through lawn equipment or I’m only going to work for three hours. Either way, I often find that once people start a project, they get so into it, they end up going for longer, once they see the progress around them.

5. Reward yourself. Sometimes we need motivation and I suggest rewarding yourself after you finish each goal or task. Buy an ice cream, go for a walk, take a nap, whatever works for you. Getting big thing done requires little steps and these rewards can be a little push, since we don’t have anyone else pushing us.

Good luck and let me know how you do.

Felice

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4 Comments
  1. Hopefully this will make you laugh but you may just shake your head in wonder at the crazyness, I hate to clean my house. hate. to. clean. So I created a game where I only have to work for 20 minutes at a time, cause I figure I can do anything for 20 minutes. So I set my kitchen timer and I roll dice. Whatever I roll I have to do, 1 might be scrub toilets, 2 mop floors, 3 vacuum etc. Then when the timer goes off I can stop and crochet or read for 20 minutes. I usually keep going past the 20 minute mark for the chores but I’m NOT ALLOWED to goof off for more than the alloted time. This game amuses me greatly, it feels like a game show with me rushing around to finish before the timer, and it makes the housework much less painful.

    • Uhm, were we separated at birth??? Love the dice idea! I often say to do something for a set time, so you don’t feel overwhelmed, but I love the dice aspect (toilet or laundry?) and the 20 minute limit makes you work faster. These are terrific ideas! I’m going to try it. Thanks!!

  2. With typical chores and errands, I time myself. For example, one hour to vacuum, half an hour for dishes, one hour for groceries, etc. I designate a one-hour errand every day after work, as needed. Knowing how little time it takes makes it easier to accomplish.

    I schedule annual chores on a calendar. For example, windows in September, toys after Xmas, closets in the spring and the garage in the summer. I like to take an entire month for each chore rather than feel rushed. Everything gets done over time with plenty of time to rest and relax.

    • Very smart. Breaking it down makes it much less daunting…

      On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM, Felice Cohen

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