A Solution for long-term Procrastination

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Summary: There are many techniques on how to deal with procrastination. It is often for (unpleasant) tasks with a deadline. This article is about how you can deal with tasks that are also annoying but do not have a deadline. Think of another job you would like to have or a relationship you can work on.

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Do you have so many tasks as well this week? Maybe you have to finish a calculation, optimize an Excel sheet and write a report. Or did you promise that quote for tomorrow?

For the entrepreneurs among us, the GDPR will take effect on 25 May. That is a tough deadline that you must keep in mind if you work with privacy-sensitive data. It’s a lot of work …

The last few weeks, I have regularly postponed this task but I have been able to complete it.

Why do we postpone and procrastinate tasks? Maybe they are annoying, they cost a lot of time or the goal is unclear. Often we want or become distracted by ‘the instant gratification monkey’ described by Tim Urban in an excellent TED Talk on procrastination.

When I look back to the past week, this monkey was also present with me. While I had to work on my deadlines, the monkey said: “Let’s first look at a Webinar”, “let’s first see how a colleague does this”, “It’s more convenient to talk to someone first” and “You still have to apply for a visa for your next holiday”. Do you recognize this?

Deadlines

Tim Urban talks about deadlines and non-deadlines in his TED Talk. Deadlines are those tasks that have a fixed delivery date, such as the GDPR on May 25th, the report that must be submitted on a certain day or, in my case, my article that I want to publish on Tuesday morning.

In a previous blog I give you 8 tips to be more productive. This can help you deal with procrastination and to get started. Actually, they are tips on how to deal  with procrastination of tasks with deadlines.

Non-deadlines

Non-deadlines are tasks with no deadline. These are, for example, courses that you want to follow someday or searching for a new job because the one you now have delivers you no satisfaction. But it can also be that box in the attic that has to be cleaned up. How about the relationships you have? Some of those could need some work and maybe it would be better to finish others.

These tasks have no deadline and are not started up because there is no one who encourages us to do these.  They are vulnerable to long-term procrastination. We do not do anything out convenience (or laziness). We promise ourselves that we will begin tomorrow, next week or next year.

Time

Tim Urban is also the author of the article ‘The Tail End’. In this article he made me more aware of the concept of ‘time’ in this life. He states that can become 90 years old. That is 1080 months, 4320 weeks or about 30240 days. That seems very much.

You can also measure life in important events. I am 45 now and can still attend 45 Christmas parties and a little less than 12 Olympic winter games. I read an average of 10 books per year. So I will read 450 more books.

I am now half my experiences of events at half of my life. But these are experiences that occur and return based on a fixed distribution each year. Some events, however, are not permanently divided over a whole lifetime. My parents are now 73 and 74. In my first 18 years of life, I spent 90 percent of my time with them. Assuming that they also turn 90, we still have about 20 years together. On the basis of how much time I spend with them annually, this is about 380 more days. That is about a little more than the time I spent with them in one year during my childhood, when I saw them every day! It turns out that I have now spent about 96% of the parents / son time. There is still about 4% to go.

So, even though I am only at the middle of my life, I am already at the end of the time that I am experiencing with some people in my life. This also applies to the job you are currently in, the development you are going through or the situation in which you are now.

Actually the non-deadlines do have a date of completion. How do you deal with that?

A Solution

Be aware of what is important to you in your life (your relationships, your career, your development, your health). Treat time as something precious and prioritize what is in line with what you want in life. Live in the now, and not in the past or the future.

What helps is to know why you do the things in your life and that you are aware of your purpose. Your WHY answers the question of what contribution you make and what the effect of this is on the world. If you are aware of your WHY, it is easier to make choices and begin with things that are in line with your why. It is also easier to drop other tasks so that there are fewer tasks with deadlines and less procrastination. And it helps you to make from non-deadlines, deadlines.

This makes you more effective, powerful and happier. And … the ‘instant gratification monkey’ will still be there but it will have a limited task to conscious relaxation.

Do you want to know more about your WHY? Read my article on how to discover your WHY.

How do you deal with non-deadlines? Let me know in the comment box below. I, and other readers of this article look forward to read from you!

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