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Women at Work: When old friend procrastination visits you again

August 12, 2018

Today was a busy day at The Granary, so finding time to write was scarce.

I know, you are wondering why this column didn’t get written Monday or Tuesday. If you recall over the past couple of weeks I wrote about procrastinating — and yes, that is what I did. I procrastinated, and here it is 1 a.m., and I am trying to write.

Normally the late hours do not phase me; actually, it is quite normal for me to be writing at this hour. Unfortunately, for myriad reasons, this has been a long week, and it is only Wednesday.

To be incredibly honest, writing is taking every ounce of energy I have, and I do not feel like working. Procrastination is fueled by excuses such as mine — a long week. Excuse piled upon excuse lead to negative mental habits which inhibit productivity.

If you ever have a day, or days, or even a weeklong stretch where you do not feel like working, there are strategies that can help conquer the “I don’t feel like working” mood and help you get productive.

Ever find yourself saying, “I don’t know where to begin?” Most often this is said when faced with a lengthy, a complex, or a more difficult task or project. I recall from my many years at Express having that deer-in-the-headlights look on my face as I was trying to make sense of the chicken scratchings my boss had made in an attempt to demonstrate his wishes for the final outcome.

When you have more complex tasks or projects, you need all the time you have been given prior to meeting the deadline. Do not let fear stop your entire process of accomplishing the project. Try breaking your task into shorter periods of work where you guarantee full-on effort. When it comes to challenging tasks, inactivity is the enemy. You all know what I mean when a deadline drew near, and all you had to show for your work was a half-baked final product.

On the flip side, tasks that are too easy can actually be equally as dangerous as complex tasks. The time it takes to complete easy tasks needs to be taken just as seriously as difficult tasks. Everyone has a tendency to avoid the easy tasks or do them last as they do not take much time. If your task appears too easy, draw connections to the bigger picture as you work. For example you might just hate data entry, but if you think about the role the data plays in the strategic objectives of your business, the task may all of a sudden appear more worthwhile than you thought. Something that simple re-energizes you and gets you up and at it.

How about those projects that you just do not like doing, no matter how important they are? It is extremely difficult to get moving on a task that is of no interest to you. This may sound easier said than done, but how about making it a rule you can’t do any of the more fun projects until the mundane project is done. It is kind of like eating your broccoli before your ice cream and cake.

Lastly, the fear of failure can cause someone to not want to get their work done. Nagging thoughts running through your head such as “What happens if I blow it?” or “How am I going to get this done?” Take that project on as a challenge and believe in yourself! Utilize your talents and abilities and tackle the project head on.

Shift your mind from not wanting to work to the feelings of success you will have once the project is done. Stop worrying about what could go wrong and just get it done.

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