Do It! Dump It! Delegate It!

Are you still catching up from the holidays? I am! Today, when my oregano spilled all over my spice cabinet I was ready to be “done.” I have not even taken the Christmas wreaths off the front door and now Valentine’s day has come and gone…and I have to clean up one more thing….my spice cabinet! Why do we have all of these uncompleted tasks? Mark Twain says, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started!” Here are five reasons why we procrastinate and how to get started.

Too boring

The task is boring. You dislike doing your bills, but like to feel organized. You hate to call your physician for your annual physical, but enjoy being in charge of your health.

There are so many tasks and chores we have to do to live a purposeful life. Focus on the bigger picture. As Rita Emmett states in The Procrastinator’s Handbook, “Nobody, nowhere, has a life filled with pleasantness, totally devoid of unpleasantness…so accept the fact that if you want to be a functioning human being, you will be stuck doing some miserable boring tasks.” What to do then? Start with a change in attitude. No more whining. Instead, say to yourself, “OK, I hate doing my expense report, but I hate the STRESS of NOT doing it even more.”

Perfectionist paralysis

Do you wait until you have a huge chunk of time and you are in a good mood, and have the ideal environment to do your best? And if all your “perfectness” doesn’t come together, are your decisions, actions, new job, relationships, and projects all placed on hold?

Well, guess what? You end up waiting to live. Bottom line, we are imperfect people who live in an imperfect world. Be done with perfectionist paralysis. As I tell my weight loss clients, perfectionism kills action. Dump it now. Focus on your effort and let God handle the perfection!

I do it all

Do you really think you can keep up with your sheer volume of mail, email and magazine subscriptions? We have an insatiable curiosity to be informed with more demands on our time. We live in a high expectation 24/7 society with increased exposure to “stuff.” You will never do it all. You will never read it all. You will never learn it all.

Nicole, one of my coaching clients, complained during many initial coaching calls about the paper clutter in her office. She saved years and years of dietetic journals and magazines to read “someday.” During one coaching call, she realized she would never have time to read all of them. Never! She was always waiting for the time to read them. She was feeling stuck. Our environments create who we are. After Nicole stated, “I don’t want to wake up and notice I missed life,” Nicole threw away the journals and now states she feels more freedom. And her business took off after she dumped the papers.

I tell all of my coaching clients—you can do anything, NOT everything. Pick your one thing and do it today. @chereborkClick To Tweet

I’m not sure

Researchers at the University of Calgary have discovered that procrastinators aren’t perfectionists. Instead they’re more likely to delay tasks they are not confident about. They discovered that people are less likely to procrastinate if the task has to be done ASAP and they feel confident doing the task. People are more likely to procrastinate if the task is less urgent, (I still have my summer shoes out in the closet), less appealing (scheduling your annual physical), or daunting to the person facing the task (your taxes). Do you really lack the skill or do you just imagine that you lack the skill? If you really do lack it, ask someone to help you get it done!

It’s the wrong goal or time

There are two types of procrastination: productive and destructive. Productive procrastination occurs when it’s the wrong time, the wrong goal, or you don’t have all the information you need. Destructive procrastination occurs when the cost of not doing something is significant. These kinds of things are a big deal and if you don’t handle them, you will feel more out of control.

We all make decisions to not do things we should be doing. I had a little growth on the back of my neck. My nurse friend said “Come over sometime and I will flick it out. “ (I asked, “You keep scalpels in your kitchen?” The answer was yes!) Three years later I had to have a plastic surgeon remove it and now have an ugly purple scar! Total destructive procrastination! Make a list of what you are procrastinating on and figure out why—then you have your solution. Pay close attention to body parts as health is hope and hope is everything. And, I do mean everything!

The crazy busy isn’t going to go away. Half a year will be over when you realize you are frustrated with not getting your stuff done again. Just take a step—it doesn’t matter which step. Besides, you know which step needs to be taken…you know the one you have been putting off.

Bottom line…there are only three options: do it, dump it, or delegate it. Don’t forget to schedule your physical today! I’m going to take my summer sandals, that have been sitting on my dryer since September, to the shoemaker to be fixed…or should I wait as spring is almost here?





Note: This story was featured in the Chanhassen Villager in January 2011. You can see it here



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