Ah! Those two words nudge me in the ribs and tease me. I glare at them. I know I would never be able to overcome procrastination, unless… oh well, unless I play smart.
Have you ever heard of last minute people? The ones who plan to be the first to submit but end up with last minute article submissions? The ones who plan to pack their bags and reach the station at least half an hour before the train arrives, but end up catching the train at the last minute? The ones who plan to complete the goal before the set deadline, but end up completing the work BECAUSE there was a final deadline? Yeah, I am one of them!
Are you of the same gang? Do you love the word ‘later’ as much as you hate it later? Do you have at least one work at the moment poking its pin in your head, demanding your attention and you are purposefully stalling it, saying the obvious word ‘later’? Oh then, you can thank me for the ten effective ways I am going to share with you to say goodbye to procrastination.
Busy yourself: Sounds horrible, does it? Try it! Let’s say, you have to submit your work tomorrow at 4:00 PM; chances are that you’ll complete the work at 3:45 and submit five minutes later with a pride in your eyes that only an achiever can have. Now, I’m sure, that was not your actual plan; you had planned to complete it by today and stand before your boss, like a boss. Nothing wrong with that; just that it won’t happen! Reason - Either you are already too busy or you are the lucky member of The Procrastinators’ Club. If it’s the former, my sympathies! If it’s the latter, then the next para is for you!
Get busy and you get a reason to do your work sooner.
Let’s count what all you could shun: social networking sites, endless chats on your phone, day-dreams, TV shows, excuses(lol), and if you’re lucky, you could also get rid of some boring works like… umm, housework?
Reward yourself: Not for every mundane work, of course; but you could definitely announce some treat for yourself for actually completing the important work before the deadline set by you. Incentives, they call it! Who doesn’t like them? I do! You do! We all do! Cupcakes, coffee, a chat with someone special, a book, your TV program, some good music, or whatever you include in your list of treats.
Challenge someone: Announce your target to someone. Not to a good friend; one easily escapes close ones with an excuse or a two. You have to challenge your competitor, or someone who would harp on the fact, with wee bit of sarcasm and leg-pulling, that you couldn’t do it. Would you like to handle that? I guess, not! So, maybe you would crease your head and pucker your lips at the endless work in front of you, but you’d still finish it in time, just to emerge as the winner you think you are. See if you don’t!
Alarms: No matter how high the volume is, I never budge from procrastinating. Remember the just-five-more-minutes you plead in the morning with your puppy-dog face? Yeah, so you begin your day with procrastination. Could it be better?
Okay, you could tell a friend to remind you to do the work. Choose the friend wisely. You know what I mean, don’t you? Choose either the one who cares about you enough to remind you or the you-gave-me-the-responsibility-so-I-will-do-it-no-matter-what kinda guy. Let’s just assume that you have some self esteem and you’d never want to say “Dang! I couldn’t do it.”
Divine impossibilities: The what-ifs! Someone warned me the other day, “What if you get ill on the last day you have left everything for?” Sheesh! That never happened with me, and I deem it right to thank God for keeping me immune from the last-day fever. Still, why take chances? Make a list of your what-ifs. What if your best friend calls you, all teary-eyed, with the news of her break-up? You wouldn’t want to shoo her, I’m sure. What if tomorrow the internet connection shakes because there is a storm lurking? What if your laptop crashes? What if you meet with a minor accident? What if there is an unexpected guest at your door tomorrow? What if! What if! What if!
Meditate: Meditation does work in making you focus on the task at hand. You don’t need to go to the Himalayas or bask in the sun at a beach; you just have to meditate. Close your eyes. Breathe in, breathe out….in, out. You’ll find yourself in some scenery. Concentrate. Revel in the silence. Revel in nature. It’s beautiful.
Just an FYI: This is from the experience of some sane minds; I’m not a part of that group, sadly.
Set a time table: We all have been hearing that since we were kids, and honestly, there hasn’t been even one Medal of Honor I can place on myself for following my set time tables. All I can say is that I have wasted hell lot of paper. Mother Earth, forgive me!
I planned and planned, never executed. But, you’ll have to believe me when I say that it does help. When you secretly look at your golden time-table from the corner of your eyes, you know it inside, how much you should’ve completed by now and how much you are at. I’m talking in terms of numbers. Mine mostly stands at a 90:5 ratio.
See? I’m not even encouraging you to execute your plans; you just have to measure in terms of how much you have just D.E.L.A.Y.E.D! You’ll eventually cover up(on time), I’m sure! Your conscience will make you.
Motivational videos: Ahhh! That one! There are plenty of good ones on the internet. Google is the word! They show how awesome those people in the videos are because they have a determination unmatched. They silently challenge you; and you become charged by what you see.
I generally start with watching one video and end up watching the other 10-12 listed in the chronology. That might be a waste of time, but I like the fact that I straightaway head back to my work and stop piddling.
Look in the mirror and slap yourself: Oh, don’t gawk at me! I have tried slapping myself HARD. Seriously! It does help focus one’s attention…for a few minutes, though. So, let’s keep this at the bottom list. I am a bit confused as to its effects. What if one is a masochist and rather than focusing on his work, he continues torturing himself? *shudders*
No matter how diligently I follow the above points, I still consider myself a clever procrastinator. I had planned to start Cosmuse by April, but it just had to get started by June and no sooner. Can I blame that on my schedule, please?