I read an article recently which stated that in a 2015 survey that on average we waste nearly 220 minutes per day on unimportant tasks. If you do the maths this is over 55 days per year! The average life expectancy in Australia is 82 years which means that over your lifetime you are likely to have wasted 4510 days or 12.4 years procrastinating!!
This is a lot of time wasted! So how is it possible to overcome procrastination and claw back this wasted time. An effective way is to examine the cause of your procrastination and start small to build daily habits to stay more productive.
There are essentially 5 types of procrastinator:
- The Perfectionist – are you too afraid to start a task because you are stressed about getting every single detail right?
Advice – Be more clear about the purpose of your tasks and have a time limit for each task to stay more focused on the big picture rather than the minor details.
- The Dreamer – do you love creating brilliant ideas but find it difficult to take action?
Advice – Set SMART goals and break them down into small tasks which you can start immediately. Regularly reflect on your progress and focus on what brings positive results.
- The Avoider – are you scared to take on tasks because you think you cannot manage or will be judged if you make a mistake?
Advice – Do your most challenging tasks first to give you a sense of achievement and build momentum. Also, break your big task into smaller achievable tasks.
- The Last Minuter – do you push work back until the last minute because you thrive on the pressure of deadlines?
Advice – Use the Pomodoro effect – work in short intense bursts, have a break and start again which will give you the thrill of deadlines whilst boosting your brain’s energy and performance and allowing time to review your work
- The Busy Procrastinator – do you have loads of tasks but have trouble prioritising them?
Advice – Prioritise and identify the purpose of your tasks. Think about what will bring the most value.
Which type of procrastinator are you? If I am honest with myself, I have been guilty of all these five different types of procrastination at different times of my life.
When I reach a procrastination crossroads, I find Michelle Bridges’ advice is simple but effective – “Just Freaking Do It!!”