“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” ~H. L. Hunt
If you’ve been following my blog for a while or even if you’ve been here for a few months you’d know that I’ve written this subject to death. As I find new information, broaden my discussion on certain subjects I gain more insights. The topic of procrastination came up recently and I got a new take on the subject, at first I was a bit argumentative on this person’s thoughts but on careful consideration what they were saying really made sense.
What I got from the conversation and what made me really ponder the analysis was that procrastination is more than just putting things off for a later day or indefinitely in some cases. When we procrastinate what we’re saying is, “this thing I’m putting off, just isn’t important to me right now.” When hunger pains hit we don’t put off eating, we may do for a while but eventually, we find ourselves a meal. However, the same doesn’t go to fixing that broken garage door or to be more extreme, preparing that business plan or in my case finishing that book. Why? Because finishing that book I’ve been labouring on now for at least three years has no great significance in my life right now. Just as you wanting to start a business, that idea holds no great importance to your right now, especially if you’re helping someone else realise their dream and they are paying you just enough to allow you to support your basic needs of food, shelter and entertainment.
Procrastination ends where importance begins. ~ Etta D. Richards
When you or I stamp anything with importance or high priority this is where procrastination ends because what we’re saying is this idea, this task, is too important to put off. This is something that’s going to bring some joy or satisfaction to my life, so I’d better jump on it and get it done now! That thing becomes as important to us as breathing, you know if you held your breath for a long time you’d most likely pass out. If your body is deprived of air you’ll die, when that one thing is stamped as important we breathe life into it. Procrastination in its silence is simply deprivation in a more subdued form because our mind is too busy stamping so many other things as important it pushes everything else away. Remember depriving anything of its importance kills it.
So for a minute or two, think about all the things you’ve been putting off, make a list. No, make two lists, one list shows everything you’ve been meaning to do, the second list shows those things in priority or importance to you, not to your family, your boss or friends. I don’t mean making dinner, dropping off or picking up the kids from school or showing up for work, those things are what I like to call instinctual task or behavioural task, they’ve already been manually placed at the top of our to-do list. After you’ve created your priority list, create a timeline for each task. If you have a hundred things on your list, cut to about a dozen or so, then keep creating a list and timeline as you complete each task. You’ll find that you may have to keep crossing your list by adding a few things from your old one to the new one but don’t carry over more than two or three task at a time.
Be mindful of what you’re carrying over to your new list. Carrying over the same tasks consecutively only means that they’re not important to you and should be removed or reevaluated.
©Etta D. Richards