Monday, March 12, 2007

Tomorrow: Today’s Greatest Labor Saving Device.

The title was quoted by a humorous president of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson. The first time I heard it, cleverness was the first impression I had. Upon reading that title, you may already have a clue of what I’m going to write…

By definition, procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. So why do people procrastinate? Looking back at my own personal experiences, there are several reasons for this. To conquer procrastination, we must know why we do it in the first place.

Managing time wisely does not define procrastination but the most significant cause is poor time management. We may be uncertain of our priorities, goals and objectives. Or maybe we are overwhelmed with it. Consequently, in my own point of view as a student, I keep putting off academic assignments for a later date, or having a good time with my friends. Furthermore, rather than completing my papers and class projects, I worry about the upcoming examination.

Moreover, you may remember yourself daydreaming, staring into space, looking at pictures of your boyfriend/girlfriend instead of doing a significant task. A very noisy and distracting environment may be surrounding you. You have a terribly unorganized workplace and finally you lay on your bed to do the project! All of these promote frustrations and wasting of time. Thinking deeply, having a difficulty to concentrate is the source of these.

There are many other factors why we procrastinate. Fear and anxiety may cause us to be overwhelmed with the task. Thus, we spend more time on worrying than completing the task. Negative beliefs stop us from getting the work done. Personal problems affect our focus, etc.

Now, how do you overcome procrastination? First, you have to recognize our self-defeating problems such as poor time management, difficulty concentrating, fear and anxiety. Next, identify your own goals, strengths and weaknesses, values and priorities. Discipline yourself to use time wisely. Set priorities.

To concentrate, you should work in small blocks instead of long periods. Give yourself a 15 minute break between blocks. Reward yourself after completing a task. Motivate yourself and dwell on success rather than failure. Keep a reminder schedule and checklist. Set realistic goals.

Most importantly, before you do your work, modify your environment to eliminate as much distraction as possible. Also, don’t get too comfortable doing the task. To be able to maximize your focus, clear your mind just like a golfer going for a birdie. I hope these simple tips will help you in your daily work. Now that you know your enemy, it’s time to conquer it!