Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mastering the Procrastination Shuffle

Feeling overwhelmed?

Do you have 10 projects, 5 crisis, and 0 time to deal with any of them? Do you feel the overwhelming urge to flick on the TV, go to You Tube, surf the web or even read a book--in short, anything to put off the task in front of you?

You're in luck. Procrastination can be your friend as well as your enemy. But only if you master the art of the procrastination shuffle.

What is the Procrastination Shuffle?

Basically, it's putting off the things you really hate to do by getting done other, less urgent stuff. Used properly, it can be a great tool for motivating yourself. Used improperly... well, at least you get something done.

Step 1. Make a List

Write down all the things you need or want to get done in the day, the week, or the month. Make sure you include little things, like doing the dishes or walking the dog. Does the list look too light? Add more stuff.

Step 2. Stare in Horror at the Impossible

Feel that anxiety squirt in your belly as you realize there is absolutely no way to get everything done. Not feeling it yet. Really envision what kind of effort it will take to get everything done. Let that dread sink into your soul.

Step 3. Chop Stuff Off the List

Mentally decide which things are least likely to get done, don't need to get done, can wait until a different date. For big tasks, chop them into smaller pieces. Make up a new list if needed.

Step 4. Assess the Feasibility of Your List

Do you think you could get everything done on the list and still do the daily stuff to keep you alive and hygienic. Things like eating, sleeping, showering, brushing teeth, taking bathroom breaks. Can you do everything, but only if you run around like crazy and utilize every second of the day with maximum efficiency?

Good. You now have a reasonable list.

Step 5. Judge the Tasks

What tasks are most pleasant, which are boring, which tasks frighten you deep down where you can't admit it, which tasks do you hate with an undying passion? Which tasks are long, which tasks are short?

Step 6. Gauge Your Mental Energy

Are you feeling brave? Happy? Cranky? Lazy? Scared?

Step 7. Find the Most Amicable Item on Your List

If, for some reason, you are feeling you can tackle the world (in which place, you don't need the procrastination shuffle), go ahead and choose the hardest item on the list. For the other 90% of the time, choose something fun or short or easy or just the least horrible.

Step 8. Do Said Item

Step 9. Congratulations!

Celebrate the completion of this Herculean task by slashing the item on the list, disemboweling it like a mountain, obliterating it from existence. Or for the less violent, draw a smiley face to signify your enemy is now your friend.

Step 10. Evaluate Your Effort

How long did it take to do the task? Shorter than you thought? Longer? Was there any kind of crisis that popped up you had to deal with or additional steps you didn't anticipate. Add those to your list and cross them off too.

Step 11. Use the Quick Burst of Happy Energy You Get from Accomplishing One Task to Propel You Into the Next One

If you don't feel happy, you probably need to go back to Step 9. Celebrate. Really feel proud of yourself.

Step 12. Repeat Until Bedtime

Step 13. How Did You Do?

Take a look at your list and count the tasks completed. How great of a percentage did you get done?

100%-75% Wow, you are awesome! That's not even procrastination. That's efficiency.

75%-50% Pretty good. Pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk (or beverage of your choice).

50%-25% Hey, it's something. Maybe you had a crisis or overestimated yourself. Maybe you ran out of energy or took a very long break. It happens. Live and learn.

25%-1% Could be better. At least you got something done.

0% Okay, so you got distracted and all your good intentions went out the window. The good news is that you should be nice and relaxed with a large store of mental energy. Tomorrow's another day.

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