“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”
We’ve always been told that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to that list; procrastination. If you are one of the few lucky gems that don’t let procrastination seep into your life, then kudos to you and I give you a standing ovation. For the rest of you, stick with me.
What do I mean by procrastination? Tell me if this looks familiar:
You grab the mail from the mailbox, rifle through it quickly and glance at the envelopes in the pile. Sure you could just toss out the sale papers right away, separate the bills into your “pay” pile, and sort the magazines to their final coffee table destination, but instead, you choose to drop everything on the counter, walk away and save it for later.
Then you head back to your desk, pick up where you left off before you decided to take a break and get the mail (which you clearly didn’t need to do because it clearly wasn’t important), and you dive back into your work – after checking in with Facebook and de-junking your business. Because why wouldn’t you?
This example of course is on a small scale, but you get the point.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Constantly pushing things off and giving excuses after excuses. Psychology Today says we procrastinate for different reasons – and I completely agree. My reasons could be completely different than yours. But that’s neither here nor there. What I want to suggest to you is a baby step to help overcome it little by little.
If you think you can handle an overhaul, take a look at my 10 Ways to Overcome Procrastination, but if you want to start small, I suggest you begin with the 2-minute rule. If you are familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, then you’ve heard of this.
2 minutes. That’s all it takes to get you moving in the right direction.
Basically, if something will take two minutes or less to complete, do it. For God sakes just get it out of the way and out of your mind.
Sorting the mail – do it.
Responding to short one-question emails – do it.
Clipping your fingernails – just do it!
The quote up top says it all. If you are constantly procrastinating, you are constantly back-peddling and keeping up with yesterday. You always find yourself doing things from yesterday’s to-to list.
Here’s the thing though, if it was important enough to write down yesterday, then it should have been done yesterday. If it could have been done in 2 minutes, then it should have been done immediately (and probably shouldn’t have made it to the list in the first place).
So, here’s your action plan for today. Take a look at your calendar or to-do list (wherever you keep your daily tasks), and note anything that can be done in 2 minutes or less. Pick one of those things and bang it out immediately. If you have more than one, you can do them all or do one every 30 minutes or when you take a break.
Your goal is to knock out every 2-minute task that’s on your list today and then tell me about it in the comments.