The best way to get something done is to begin

Procrastination is the thief of time   >   We have been putting off pp11auploading this Posting for months, but it is time to talk about procrastination. This is not just the go-to activity of choice for most of us, especially those preparing for their exams, but ensures that our smaller, unimportant but seemingly more exciting jobs always get priority.

The problem is that distracting from necessities just results in more stress. Deadlines left to the 11th hour and must-do chores crammed into vital minutes before immovable pressure points, such as the school run, trains to catch and cooking dinner, are all tell-tale symptoms of the mañana virus. We are told that some frazzled procrastinators are even too busy to phone Tonic, though we hope that is only a myth!

The fact is most of us could achieve more by doing less simply by becoming more organised. So with the advice of Simon & Garfunkle singing in your mind, spare a few minutes to read our check list on how to become more productive (NO – don’t ‘Save’ to read another day!).

The first priority is to get motivated and hit the ground running. As setting aside the afternoon tom22s get things done never works, wake up and blitz the chores before lunch, then you can have the afternoon free as a reward.

However, if you are not an early bird and the very thought of waking up singing ‘Oh what a beautiful morning‘, is laughable, you can still write a To-Do list to focus your mind on what needs to be done.

Do not write this just in the order of urgency as you must give equal priority to the ‘dread factor’.  Put high up on your list the worst of the worst tasks, as the relief you’ll feel after having tackled them will spur you on to do less stressful chores. It also helps to break down each task into its component parts, as bite-size pieces are always easier to swallow.

Next up, establish immovable deadlines, This might sound harsh, but it is a matter of personal discipline and once imposed tell as many people as possible so failure does not become an outcome which can be hidden.

It also helps focus the mind to set a timer so you have to race the clock. You may think this will only fuel your anxiety level, but setting a timer for say 15 minutes of hard work followed by a breather and a cuppa, gives you a sense of achievement and a reward. Having refreshed, reset the clock to tackle the next priority on your diminishing list.

If all this planning sounds too daunting, then be less ambitious. Put yourself first as it is hard to be bright eyed and bushy tailed when you are hungry, tired or dehydrated.  Have a ready supply of snacks and drinks so there is no excuse to keep wandering off to the fridge. And remember, you are human and only Robinson Crusoe got everything done by Friday.m9a

8 thoughts on “The best way to get something done is to begin

  1. Carl (client 130) says:

    so what’s wrong with manaña? hasn’t done the spanish any harm and they all seem a pretty elaxed bunch

  2. Len M. Browne says:

    There comes a time in life to stop getting things done and enjoy wasting time. After all, if you enjoy doing nothing is it really a waste of time? Constant doing things does not allow time for thinking, which can be far far more productive. So give quiet contemplation a chance and stop beating yourself up over it.

    • You are right. Quality of life is defined by family, good food, fine wines and friendships. Without these all our striving to achieve ‘things’ is worth tiddly squat. Relax and enjoy life. After all, why do today what can successfully be put off until tomorrow!

    • I am suppose to be Spring Cleaning the house today but am wasting time reading this drivel. Thanks for nothing Tonic!

  3. Prof J. Odds says:

    In a study published in ‘Psychological Science’it was found that procrastination is more about managing emotions than time. It found that the amygdala was larger in procrastinators. In these individuals, there were also poorer connections between the amygdala and a part of the brain called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC). The DACC uses info from the amygdala and decides what action the body will take. It helps keep us on track by blocking out competing emotions and distractions. The researchers suggest that procrastinators are less able to filter out interfering emotions and distractions because the connections between the amygdala and the DACC in their brains are not as good as in proactive individuals.

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