You would think that after all my years working in TV and radio, with multiple daily deadlines, I would be well-organized, always-on-time, and have a completed to-do list. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! I am a (sort-of) proud card-carrying procrastinator.
Dozens of articles online discuss the different kinds of procrastinators there are – I saw at least 6 types — from “The Avoider, or “The Pleasure Seeker,” to “The Crisis Maker,” and “The Perfectionist.” So what kind am I?
What I find for me, when it comes to procrastination, and why I put off doing something, is that it is usually a task that I am not good at, something that I am not confident doing, something I find unpleasant, or something I just don’t like. So consequently, I am “The Avoider.” I would rather avoid the work than risk being judged, making a mistake, or being uncomfortable. And what does that really boil down to? Fear!
We’re all afraid of something but when I talked with a friend recently about how hard life is and that we need to stop making it harder – naturally, procrastination came up. She’s “The Crisis-Maker,” putting off work to the last minute because she likes the adrenaline rush she gets when she makes deadlines with just moments to spare. She worked in TV news for 25 years so it was a daily occurrence for her and she fed off the feeling. Now, it causes more anxiety than euphoria.
After our conversation, I got to thinking about how I best handle procrastination.
My solution is this:
- If I can afford to, I pay somebody else to do it. This frees up time for me to do what I am best at. In all likelihood, I can find someone else that might actually enjoy the task that I loathe.
- I try to do it and learn a way to make it easier for me, or perhaps even more fun. Whether it’s getting an app or getting some help from a friend that understands it better than me or can do it more efficiently, the task becomes a little more palatable.
- Bonus time! Sometimes, I will even give myself a reward for having done the task and done it well. Sometimes you have to treat yourself like a child to be a productive adult.
What is your solution? Do you break down your big projects into smaller tasks? Or maybe set a time limit for certain jobs or duties you dislike so that you know you can take a break when the alarm goes off? Or do you pull a friend into your pain to make you more accountable so you have someone who will help keep you on task? I’d love to hear your secrets to lowering your stress by prioritizing instead of postponing!