The steps to avoid the “P” word

So, what is it that keeps you from getting that looming task finished? What keeps you from dreading a job, a meeting, a to-do list item? What is it that keeps a blogger from updating their posts in a timely manner? Yes, the “p” word: Procrastination. What can be done about this traumatizing demon? What does it even exist? If there was an algorithm or a rubric that works, why isn’t it published and out there?.

You can do an Internet search and find many ways to conquer procrastination. Full disclosure: I am a procrastinator. And  I have read some of the posts on how to overcome procrastination. Many have similar ideas. Here are the two that work best:

Break the job into smaller tasks.

The old “divide-and-conquer rule works wonders on the tasks we hate.

Go for small chunks. I set twelve minutes aside for each divided component. Why twelve minutes? I give it a ten minute base, with one minute to start up and one minute to close down (and those start-up and shut down minutes really don’t count as part of the job anyway, right?). The twelve minutes are devoted to the single most dreaded task of the day. And if the time goes over, it’s a bonus!

And then I play a “minus one” game. I next set aside eleven minutes for the next dreaded task. Same deal as with the twelve minute monster.

And so on, and so on, until I get down to the five minute beast. If you do the math, you will end up with at least 68 minutes of time tackling your dreads. If the time goes over, then perhaps you are finally wrestling that beast to the ground, and slaying your procrastination monsters. (Your “P-monsters”).

You can also play this game using tasks instead of time. I’ve heard it called the “Tenth plus ten” method. Suppose you are a teacher, and you are dreading the grading of 120 essays. Go after a tenth of the papers (12) and do ten more. As your pile dwindles, you may find yourself doing more than a tenth, and more than “plus ten”. If your tenth comes out to a fraction, round up!

I dread vacuuming. I have divided my house into 14 areas. The “Tenth plus ten” wouldn’t work here since it would mean I have to vacuum 12 areas. Ugh. ‘Why not do it all?’ I would mutter. And to some, this would work. But If this is still overwhelming, modify the game to be “Tenth plus one”. The results are the same. You will eventually tackle the job completely.


Just do it.

Yep. Just roll up your sleeves, and “git ‘er done”. Sometimes you need to change your environment, close out your distractions, and get going on those taxes, your bills, or that book you’re writing and can never seem to finish.

We all have tasks we hate. Whether paying bills, running errands, vacuuming, or making some long over-due phone call, we dread it to our core.. But unless someone else is there to do it, they must get done. And it must be you. Search the internet, find ideas, modify them to fit your individualized style, and attack!

Happy p-monster slaying.

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