Note to Self: No Procrastination!

6th January 2017

post_it_notes

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I have always been a “happy go lucky” person. I have always done what I liked, when I liked and how I liked. If I don’t want to do anything particular, I just don’t do it. Period. End of the discussion. When I say it like this, it might paint a very happy, fulfilled picture but I am not trying to paint a golden picture here. Sometimes, when I do what I want and especially when and how I want it; it does have certain negative consequences; especially when you have to get it done anyhow. It might then, impede progress and self growth. Let me simplify this statement: what I mean here is this habit will lead to what we call PROCRASTINATION.

My master’s thesis dissertation is a perfect example. I have delayed it by two years and I have to get it done by this year anyhow. Else, my MSC degree , something in which I have invested my two hard years of my life, will dissolve. It has had some consequences over my personal life too. Every time, I think of doing it; something more urgent or more interesting comes up and I avoid it. Of course, I always promise that I am going to get it done, with full concentration next time but it never happens. Similarly, it has effects in my professional life too. I end up doing too many things at the last hour; basically juggling with deadlines. I deliver always, of course, as I have no other option. But it does leave me thinking how I could have done it timely, without waking up in the middle of night or rushing to just get it done anyhow. Then, I end up vowing, that this will not be repeated ever EVER again!

I end up repeating the same story again, of course!

Its funny actually, because once I did an internet search on procrastination. I found out that there are like serious high ranking journal articles and procrastination; why people procrastinate and how it effects efficiency and so on and so forth. There is even a website on procrastination! Ha! Guess, we are not outcasts!

So, in one fine November, I woke up in the middle of the night. I was on field, and was having back to back fields to different places, at that time ; which might seem like fun (It is , no doubt about it  but it can be very exhausting and disorienting as well). So, I woke up suddenly, and I remembered all the lists of things that I had to get done and felt a chill in my heart. Anxiety! Then I opened my laptop, as I couldn’t go back to sleep, opened my outlook and it was full of all the red flags! It was not much , I am not an extremely busy person as of now, I am young,  still learning as I go along, but there were some 9-10 flags. I imagined how it would look when I became some serious, big and busy person and then I realized that if I did not attend to these flags and NOT PROCRASTINATE now, I was never going to be a big, busy person with an impressive work, career and life at all. I also had not finished my thesis for MSc. So that was it. I decided never to procrastinate, like seriously never!

Then, I immediately started two things. No big commitments; no “change in lifestyles” or anything, but I started just two small habits. One which I like to call “Ticking the boxes”. this is not my own invention or habit, everyone does it and has always done it. So, here, I started listing all the activities that I had to do on a daily basis, without exhausting myself and making sure that I give the right amount of time for each activity; not too much or too less. I would then, write it on “post-it” notes and stick somewhere I could see daily, all through the day.

As I completed each task, I would put a tick next to it, on the list and move to another task on the list. The sense of accomplishment that you get when you tick away one task gives you all the energy and motivation you need to start another. At the end of the day, when all your lists are ticked, you just get this best feeling and know that YOU HAVE NAILED THEM ALL!

Of course, not everyday you end up ticking the boxes. Some days you end up ticking 50% of the list and some days even less. Still, it gives a sense of purpose and determination to complete it the next day or the day later.

Another small habit that I started (or restarted actually) was writing a DIARY. Previously, I used to keep a diary where I would express all my feelings, my dreams, my wants, my highs and my lows but this is different. here, I write hourly log entries of what I did in a certain hour of the day. It mainly consists of which tasks I completed, which tasks I need to follow up and so on. It is not as much of a writing exercise, as it is a reflective one. This habit will give you an opportunity to reflect back on your day; how efficient you were; where you went wrong ; where you could have done better and most importantly,  how you could improve the next day.

Of course, I don’t exclusively write only about what I did in a certain hour. Some days, when I feel expressive enough or need to express myself, I also write about how I felt that day, some interesting events/experiences and so on. Once I did that, I also realized how much I had missed writing. When I used to keep a diary, I used to write a lot and often; which has somehow lessened significantly these days. You can look at my blog entries to see what I mean. Somehow, the writing zeal had been weakened in the past two years. Hence, this will give me an opportunity and desire to write and  express myself again.

Let me remind you again, that these are not new things and not revolutionary either. many of us have done it in our lives, some always do it. But for procrastinators (or ex – procrastinators like me! AHEM!) these are simple, do-able and useful habits. So, I wrote this here,  mostly to remind myself and others like me : that its simple and important! Please do try it and let me know! Stop Procrastination and Stay HAPPY 🙂

 

 

 

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