Sunday, December 4, 2011

If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done

When I was in college, my dorm room was cleaned when my roommate and I both had homework or other class projects to work on. We realized this pattern about halfway through our first semester, but we never changed. I called it the “But, first … “ phenomenon.

When you aren’t doing what you should be doing, what are you doing? Nothing? Probably not. If you’re like me, you’re probably doing something else. So let’s stop beating ourselves up about procrastination. Maybe we just need to reorganize our thoughts about it. (I know, I know, isn’t that just one more thing to put on our to-do list?)

It’s not that I’m not the not best at focus and determination. It’s that I always have one little thing to do first before I can begin to do what I should be doing. For instance, I needed to create this blog post, but first, I had to throw in a load of laundry, write out a grocery list, run to the store for just a few things, and grade some papers.

Before I can do that big project that requires creative energy, I will do these little things, but somehow, those little things end up taking a lot of time, and as the deadline nears, I haven’t finished the project that I need to finish.

But those little things that keep life running smoothly have been finished. We have clothes to wear, food in the pantry, and a schedule that we can follow. What can we do? I’ve developed a list of four items to keep in mind when you are overwhelmed with projects.

1)    1) Delegate
2)     2)  Keep a list
3)     3) Limit your to-do list
4)     4) Don’t give up

First, give others the opportunity to be responsible. Everyone wins, especially kids because they learn valuable life skills.

Second, don’t forget the importance of keeping a list. The simple process of writing it down and then crossing it off gives everyone a sense of accomplishment.

Third, I worked with a woman who told me to never put more than three items on your to-do list for any given day. She said there is an unwritten law of the universe that says you can’t accomplish more than three items in a day. (She was correct.)

Fourth, don’t give up, ever. Keep plugging away, and some day, it will all come together. And if it doesn’t, keep working on it anyway. Because there’s always tomorrow, and we all know what a difference a day makes.

Write soon,

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