There are some basic and understandable reasons behind many of our delaying tactics.
Knowing about them is perhaps the first best step to taking action in a timely manner instead of when our stress level has hit the roof.
The first reason why we may procrastinate is that we haven’t taken sufficient time to plan and prioritize what needs to be done. As the old saying goes, We do not plan to fail, but we often fail to plan.
Sitting down and making a list of everything that needs to be done is the first part of this strategy. The second, and equally important part, is to figure out what is the number one priority to accomplish, then the number two priority to accomplish, etc.
The second reason why we may procrastinate is that our to-do list is filled with jobs that we haven’t taken the time to break down into their component parts.
Being Jewish, I have never put up a Christmas tree; but one of my non-Jewish friends explained to me that the only way he could get himself to put up his Christmas tree was to break the process down into small parts, the first of which was simply to move around his furniture to make room for where he planned to put the tree.
The old riddle asks, How do you eat an elephant? And the standard answer goes, One bite at a time.
Breaking jobs down into small bites makes it much more likely that we will feel able to take action; since the action is a small bite, as it were, and much more doable than looking at the job as a whole.
In next week’s blog post, I will delve into the other huge reason why we procrastinate, which has nothing to do with practical realities and everything to do with emotion.
PS In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I am posting this article a day later than my usual schedule. Go figure!