Procrastination and getting things done

So, you have a beautiful List of Things To Do.  Or just one big Thing To Do.  Everything is organised; the only thing left is to actually do the things.

So you make a cup of tea, feed the rabbit, get distracted and end up doing something which never even made it onto the list.  It’s not just me, is it?

The conventional advice often seems to be to jump in and do the hard thing first – get the worst of it over with.  (Rather like eating your beetroot first and saving the yummy buttery mashed potato until last.  Or maybe that’s just me too?)  Then everything else will seem easy.

Except it doesn’t always work.  When the boy and I were discussing homework yesterday (before it escalated into a shouting match – that’s a story for another day), we agreed that we both work with a different strategy, one that works better for us.

It’s this: do the easiest thing first, or the thing that you most like the look of, or the thing that will take the shortest time.  That way, you’re on a roll and are more likely to continue onto the next thing and the next, rather than heaving a huge sigh of relief after the hard thing and going and making yet another cup of tea in celebration.  (You may eventually end up with a pile of ‘nasty’ things to do once you’ve picked off the best ones.  But somehow they look less daunting when you’ve already proved to yourself that you can get things done.

I reckon it often doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something.  Action begets action, and eventually you’ll get to the thing you’ve been putting off – and I bet it won’t seem half as bad by then.

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4 thoughts on “Procrastination and getting things done

  1. Ha ha ha – no, not just you.

    My strategy has always been to procrastinate until I start getting angry phone calls, and then I pull an all-nighter. And then I spend a week in recovery, which gives stuff time to get late again.

    No wonder I feel older than my years… 😦

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