My cell phone battery died today. Evidently, they have to be replaced once in a while (I didn’t know I managed to live over 1/2 my life without one). My husband happened to be home for lunch and when I was telling him that it would not charge, he said that was the reason and then told me to go to a particular store to get a new battery (after I checked on-line to make sure they had it). I started to stall because I was concerned that if the schools called me (the boys were both borderline under the weather this morning), I would not be home and of course, I would not have my cell phone. He very reasonably pointed out that both schools had his number also and could call him. He went back to work and I decided I needed to go ahead and take care of the phone battery rather than put it off for a day (or two which would have probably been into next week). Ever write an entire blog post in your head while doing an errand? That’s what I did today!
I’m going to share my insights into what I’ve dubbed the “Procrastination Prevention Trio.”
I doubt I’m the first one to discover these things and if you do not procrastinate like some of us around here and just already knew these things, please read on and tell me if I’m on the right track. I think if I could consistently apply these three items to my day, I’d be well on the way to being on of those super organized people who I sometimes give off the illusion of being. Ready for the oh so simple (but note I did not say easy) strategy?
Apply the “Do It Now” principle. This is such a basic thing but if something takes 5 or 10 minutes to do, why wait for 5 or 10 days to actually do it? I’d stretch this to say if something takes less than an hour to complete, why wait? I thought about getting my phone battery later but then thought I should do this NOW.
Discipline is necessary to make the Do It Now principle work. I really don’t want to admit that sometimes the reason I put things off is because I simply don’t want to do them or I’d rather play games on Facebook than fold a load of laundry. I try to justify this to myself by saying “it’s harder to play this game when the boys are home because I’ll get interrupted all the time but laundry I can do while getting interrupted.” Of course, we all know which activity is more important unless you happen to live in a nudist colony. We do not. I wanted to sit home and watch Netflix today (I planned to fold my laundry while watching it) but forced myself to make the more important choice.
Diligence is sometimes needed along with discipline to keep from getting discouraged when a task takes a little longer than you thought. I could not find the battery store this afternoon but I told myself there was no excuse to go home that I just had to be a little more patient and look harder. When I did, I found it. I went in, bought the battery (apparently, it is strange to not take your phone with you to buy a battery for it. I had the phone type written on a piece of paper.)
It feels so good to not have the need for a new phone battery hanging over my head. I even went ahead and tackled another item on my list (the grocery store…yes, I live there sometimes) while I was out and about. Then, I came home and wrote this post while it was fresh in my mind instead of waiting until later. I think the Procrastination Prevention Trio could actually be remembered as ADD: Apply The Do It Now Principle, Discipline, and Diligence.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule which makes prioritizing an important piece of the puzzle as well. I’m still struggling with that one although I did get some great ideas while reading Attack Your Day Before It Attacks You last week. Discipline is important, of course, but so is knowing when you need a break from an activity. Persistence is a great trait but again, it is okay to step away from a problem for a few minutes or overnight (depending on what it is) if you are stuck. The important thing is to return. I’m not always great about that one either. Still I think keeping ADD in the front of my mind as I go about my day is a great starting point for pushing that problem with procrastination away.
What about you? Do you apply the Do It Now principle or do you have another secret for avoiding procrastination?
(While I wrote this post the same day as the cellphone battery incident, I actually saved this post for about 2 weeks to see how it would work putting ADD into practice. I’m finding the Discipline part of the equation is the hardest and I have not come close to mastering that part.)