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Journal log: Monday 18th October 06:30 hours
Before I went to sleep last night, I had my day ahead planned and felt pleased that I was going to get through my tasks in a productive and efficient manner. Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, the thought of a certain task brought on a bout of amnesia, so obviously the best course of action was an extra 15mins to procrastinate.

Now this doesn’t happen every morning but sometimes when I am faced with a work task, I struggle to get it started and will work on other tasks first which I have convinced myself are more important. So, for this blog I am going to look at procrastination from my own viewpoint and what I do to try to ensure I still get done, what I need to get done.

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem” – Pirates of the Caribbean.

The first question I ask myself is, how important is this task and will it bring me closer to my goals?

As usual the answer is yes and yes – so by acknowledging this I am making myself accountable and importantly choosing to either do the task or not, it is in my control. I need to remind myself we always have a choice and not doing something is just that a choice.

The next question is “why am I procrastinating on the task?” – is it that I am focusing too much on the size of the task and feeling overwhelmed instead of breaking it down or I overestimate how long it will take to complete so instead of starting it, leave it until later. I have found using a tool like the Pomodoro Technique (steps outlined below) very useful as I can say to myself just 25mins, set my timer and start, it is amazing how quickly the time goes by and then I realise I am in flow and happy to continue.

Step 1 – Pick a task
Step 2 – set a 25min timer
Step 3 – work on your task until the time is up
Step 4 – take a 5min break
Step 5 – for every pomodoro, take a longer 15–30-minute break.

Sometimes if I am being completely honest, I find certain tasks boring and it would take less time and effort to climb Mount Kilimanjaro than to complete them. Consider scheduling them when your energy levels are higher. Everybody’s energy levels are higher/lower at different times of the day so spend time recognising your own.

Once I actually commit to completing these tasks, I always ask myself what was my problem. If anybody has the answer please let me know….

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can” – Arthur Ashe

Recognise your abilities, another reason we may procrastinate is that we need help with something but don’t want to admit it or fear if we ask, we make ourselves look weak. This couldn’t be further from the truth as it shows courage to reach out to others and gives others the courage to ask in return which leads to more open conversations.

Also, if we have a growth mindset we are always learning and fine tuning our skills. In order to achieve this, we need to engage in reading, training, workshops etc which will involve others in some shape or form.

“Done is better than perfect” – Sheryl Sandberg

We expect so much of ourselves and think that everything has to be perfect so as a result we procrastinate. Nothing is ever perfect, nor should it be, we are all human and all with differing perspectives. Maybe somebody has criticised our work previously and it has stayed with us but in reality, if you have 5 people carrying out the same task, they will have different slants to their work so give yourself a break once you know you have done what was asked of you and given it your best that is enough.

“Motivation may be what starts you off, but it’s habit that keeps you going back for more” – Miya Yamanouchi

I recently listened to a podcast with habits expert James Clear discussing his book Atomic Habits. In his book he writes about four laws of behavioural change with the first one being Make it Obvious – he says that “the most powerful of the human sensory abilities is vision and for this reason, a small change in what you can see can lead to a big shift in what you do”. I agree with this and what has worked for me is that I leave the tasks that I tend to put off on my desk for the next morning when my energy levels are higher.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for” – Unknown

Take one step today, whether it is ensuring that the one task you have been procrastinating on is sitting front and centre on your desk, use a tool like the Pomodoro Technique and say I will spend 25minutes on this or simply choosing to complete the task you are procrastinating on “Just do it” – Nike.

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