April 4, 2012

Get Organized: Overcome Procrastination

I was going to write a blog post today about procrastination but then I thought, "I'll just write it tomorrow...'

Ha, ha, ha. That's just one of many procrastination jokes we've all seen on a magnet or a bumper sticker. But, really--procrastination is no joke. It can get in your way when trying to complete tasks or reach your goals and it can mess with your self-esteem.

If you put the 'PRO' in 'Procrastinator,' then you're in luck. Moreen Torpy of De-Clutter Coach in Ontario, Canada has written an eye-opening piece about what might be causing you to procrastinate and how to get past it. Don't put it off until later--read it NOW...

Have you been raised with the admonition to not put off till tomorrow what you can do today?

Have you ever said to yourself or another person, “I’ll put this here just for now?” Then forget you left it there?

Do you postpone doing something because you think you don’t have time to do it perfectly? Then you begin to doubt if you ever could?

What can you identify in your life that leads you to procrastinate? Here are a few ideas and what you might do to stop:

Doubt: You doubt your ability to put something away where it belongs, or if you really don’t know where it belongs, assign a place for the item and always return it there.

Perfectionism: By putting off doing something because you can’t do it perfectly. Let go of perfectionism—it’s not worth the headaches it causes.

Overwhelmed: There’s just too much to do to, for example, organize your space. Refocus and break the project down into smaller pieces then deal with only one piece at a time.

Not in the mood: When will you really be in the mood?

No visible benefit: Does it fit with your long-term goals? If so, do it. If not, let it go. And don’t tell yourself you “should” do it.

You may have more reasons than these. Make a list and write why you feel you can’t deal with them.

Then forgive yourself for procrastinating. In 2010 a group of researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario determined that by doing this, your negative emotions about organizing in the future will decrease the possibility of continuing this behavior. Basically, they say to get over it and get to work. How to do this?

Set goals: Make a commitment to a project to work toward. You can focus on smaller bits of the project so it’s more do-able.

Banish boredom: Beware of time stealers. If you’re beginning to feel bored, tackle a project so the boredom doesn’t take hold and pull you into procrastination.

Let go of perfectionism: As long as you complete the project, say organizing your bedroom, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. Give yourself permission to change your beliefs. Sometimes “good” is “good enough”.

Dismiss fear of failure: If you’re afraid to do something because you believe you’ll fail at it, procrastination will be happy to take over. And failure will move in with procrastination! That’s failure.

Discard fear of success: If you’re worried that if you do something well, you’ll always be asked to do it. Learn to say “no”. There’s no reason for you to have to do the same thing over and over again.

Think Challenge: When you see a problem as a challenge, your whole energy will change. You will feel in charge, encouraged. And procrastination will cower in fear of you.

Refocus: Change the way you look at things. Turn your thoughts from negative to positive and see how different things are.

By implementing these tips, you can eliminate procrastination from your life and vocabulary. You’ll be on your way to living a productive life.

Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See goforwarddownsize.com for more about the book, and decluttercoach.ca to learn about her organizing services.

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