Procrastination is the thief of time – so they say
We’ve all had one of those days. You’re sitting on your own in your office and you know that there is something you absolutely need to do, but for some reason you just can’t bring yourself to get going at it. Even housework seems more compelling (if I find myself drawn to ironing or washing up I know I’m procrastinating something bad…..!) Does this sound like you?
If you were working for somebody else there would be no dilemma – your time belongs to your employer and you are paid directly based on what you do, so you do the grotty job whether you want to or not, knowing that you don’t have any choice until hometime. But when you work for yourself it’s not so simple – you could choose to do it or you could choose not to and there is nobody there to force you. Also if you are in your own home, it is often easy to convince yourself that something else is just as important (like hoovering under the sofa). So when temptation and procrastination strikes – how do you motivate yourself?
When I get struck by one of those moments in the middle of the day, I generally do one of four things (depending on the weather and my mood at the time)
- I go out in the garden and potter for half an hour
- I go for a short walk, usually along the river
- I have a hot bath
- I do some singing or piano practice
Each of these activities lasts half an hour or so. Each of them is designed to nurture and pamper my soul. I promise myself that I will return to my desk at the end of any of those activities, refreshed and ready to go again. Generally this works really well for me.
There are two reasons for choosing those specific types of activities. Firstly, I quite often have my best ideas, while I am idly doing things like bathing, walking or gardening. Many a brainwave has come to me in the bath. So sometimes by just taking myself away from the office area and into a short leisure activity I can find a solution to my problem, and either find more motivation or a way to do things differently.
The other thing that happens when I take time off to nurture myself is it reminds me why I choose to work for myself in the first place. The fact that I am able to take a walk or a bath in the middle of the day, or sing out loud in my office, is an absolute luxury, a precious prize, hard won by the fact that I work for myself. I choose to be available to pick up the children from school at 3pm, and to have time to lunch with my friends. This means that occasionally I have to do grotty jobs, work in the evenings and on Sunday mornings before the family gets up. These are prices I choose to pay for a lifestyle that I love.
If I didn’t run my own business and make it successful, then I would have to go back to office work. The midday baths, walks and singing would be history, and my children would be dumped in the after school facility, instead of the varied programme of activities that they are able to enjoy. With that thought in mind , I am normally able to get back to my desk at the end of my nurturing break and get on with the task in hand.
Just delaying the grotty task for half an hour feels like I fed the procrastination monster. Once that is done then I can usually get back to work.
How do you tackle procrastination? Please share your tips…