Overcoming Procrastination – Like Playing Whack-A-Mole? 2 Great Tips

Overcoming procrastination may be an even bigger challenge than overcoming perfectionism. Together, they’re a double-whammy. Are you a supposedly recovered perfectionist like me? You think you have perfectionism licked, only to discover it pops back up. A key symptom is procrastination, but non-perfectionists can make excellent procrastinators.

The key companions of procrastination are stress, overwhelm, missed opportunities, guilt, resentment and deadline frenzy. Raise your hand if you suffer any of these. Procrastination is the culprit.

What causes procrastination?

Let’s look at overwhelming stress. This seems a little like a chicken or egg question. Which comes first? It’s hard to tell. When you’re stressed out, you can’t work effectively. When you can’t get some–or any–work done, you get stressed out.

How a timer helps beat stress.

Here’s where we play whack-a-mole. Set one work goal you can reasonably do in 15 or 30 or 45 minutes. No more than that. Focus on your mini-task for this set time with the intensity of a dog on point. It’s hammer time. Your reward is a 15-minute break afterwards in which you get to play.

Play time! You’re kidding. Who has time to play?

You do. Play time saves your sanity. If you finished your mini-task, great! If you didn’t, you at least made progress on it. Smile as you head off to play. I recommend knitting, but you do what you please. You’ll come back refreshed, less stressed and ready for another whack at your first task or doing your second one.

Side benefit!

You might have gotten whacked upside the head with a great work idea while you played, because great ideas would rather come when you’re otherwise occupied. They’re sneaky like that.

I’ve spent entire days timing work and play like this, often whacked with great ideas in the bathroom. Frequent timer beeps can drive my mate bonkers, but beats having me beached like an unhappy, stressed out, sluggish, unproductive lump. Eesh! Use a vibrating timer for quieter alerts.

Good grief, where are your standards?

Here’s where your perfectionism gums up the works. Yes, you want to do excellent work. We all do. But if you’re not working at all, or just take notes, or shift Titanic deck chairs, you’re in trouble. When your high standards smell unachievable, they whack you.

I just found a great quote in Michele Scism’s Decisive Minds LLC post called “5 Ways to Get Blog Post Ideas.” Her mentor Adam Urbanski says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly to begin with!”

As a recovered perfectionist and expert procrastinator, I can’t tell you how much I love this! Set your timer and do what you can with all your might, even if you  whack out something as crude as a child’s art work.

Where do you think Picasso and Michelangelo started, hmm? Did they know these tips for overcoming procrastination?

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