Keren Smedley 18th April 2017

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog and before I wrote this I started to contemplate why. My thoughts were broken by a client calling me to say that she wanted to see me as she had, after being very productive, found herself procrastinating.  It started me thinking about what procrastinating means and was this what I was doing myself? – the truth is it was!

What makes us procrastinate and what is the pay off that makes us continue? Even if we say to ourselves this isn’t a good idea!

Some of you may have already procrastinated about reading this blog and said to yourself I’ll do that a bit later!  Everyone procrastinates some of the time but a number of us are chronic procrastinators who put off boring or difficult tasks by doing other activities. This can include watching TV, playing a game and housework.  There have certainly been times when even cleaning the kitchen floor seemed more attractive than writing a report!

We often put things off because they’re not urgent and wait till they are. At that point we feel anxious about the consequences and become motivated and move into action. Sometimes it helps to link a task to a reward so you know what the immediate outcome is. We generally like an immediate reward even if we know that delayed gratification will bring us more.

Sometimes we put things off because they seem too big, so breaking tasks down into smaller tasks can help and each can then be achieved more easily.  Sometimes we are worried about failure so it’s easier to fail by not doing it, as we’re in control, than being at the mercy of other’s response.

I was reminded of an idea I’ve come across called the Ivy Lee Method, which may help you:

  • At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Even if you’ve got more to do only write down six tasks.
  • Now prioritise them so the most important is number one.
  • When you get up the next day focus only on those tasks, starting with number one. Complete that before you start on the next. Staying focused is the key.
  • At the end of the day move anything that isn’t done to the next days task and have it as the top items.
  • Make this a habit and do this everyday.

I put this into practise and so here is this blog!  Why don’t you give it a try?

I’d be interested to hear how you get on. If you find you’re stuck just drop me a line or give me a call

Experience Matters is an organisation set up to empower the 50+ and to help us to manage this next stage of life. We offer coaching, workshops, advice and information. 

Contact me at www.experiencematters.org.uk with your questions.

Best wishes, Keren


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