I’ve been putting off writing this post. Not because it’s difficult, but because the last few weeks I’ve been procrastinating way more than I had in a long time. Don’t get me wrong: I always do what’s really necessary, and even during my productive stretches there’s usually one or two things on my to-do list being habitually ignored. We’re all human here.
But lately I’ve been putting things off and making more excuses than usual. I’m pretty convinced it’s just a season and circumstances thing. There were stretches when I procrastinated like crazy in college, and I always procrastinate more when I’m alone than when other people are around. I’ve also been extra tired lately, which has made being motivated more difficult.
It’s unfortunately a leftover habit from school days. As an emerging adult, I have the freedom to (mostly) decide when to do or not do my own crap, but juggling responsibilities in high school and college meant that I was often putting things off until the last minute because I was either too busy or too tired to do them immediately. Not my best play. But here we are.
I wish I had some magic cure-all for procrastination. I don’t. There’s a pile of stuff in my trunk that has needed to go to Goodwill for weeks (it’s finally getting dropped off today). I cleaned the whole apartment last weekend, but when I remembered that I didn’t clean the microwave decided I’d deal with that later. There are some personal side projects that have been getting pushed back further and further.
Rather than trying to stop procrastinating cold turkey (I’ve tried, it doesn’t work), I’m just trying to take things in small increments. I was procrastinating putting together a couple of gifts, so I’m just doing a little every day until they’re done. I work on them when I think about it, and stop when I’m no longer focused.
I’m trying to let a few things go. There are projects that have been ongoing, and I’m slowly learning how to feel less guilty that I’m not working on them. I’m also trying not to start projects or endeavors that I know I don’t have time for, because being overextended is a one-way ticket to Procrastinationville. It’s not a pretty place to live.
Setting small rewards or thinking about reasons why I want (or need) certain things to get done also help me move past the tendency to procrastinate. I cleaned the apartment last weekend because I knew I wouldn’t be able to this weekend, and after I cleaned I took the rest of the day off. Sometimes it’s about determining what actually has to get done today, or even this week. If it’s urgent, make it happen. If it’s not, it’s probably okay to let it be a tomorrow you problem.
How do you battle procrastination? Let me know in a comment below, on Twitter @ohgrowup, or Instagram @oh.grow.up! Thanks for reading, and good luck adulting!
(Photo credit goes to my awesome brother!)