I’ve mentioned before that I am a major procrastinator.
Give me a challenge – whether it’s nerve-wracking, physically hard or just plain dull, and I’ll have rearranged the living room and re-organised Mr. G’s ties before you know it.
Since starting my business, Skills with Frills, I’ve become a lot better at this. As a teacher and head of department, I’ve always been used to wearing many hats. But starting my own business has taken this to a whole other level. Not only am I wearing a whole load of hats now, but some of them (like my accounting hat) just aren’t really my style. Having so much to do; having so much to learn; and caring so much, has forced me to really focus and get more done.
With that said, the battle against procrastination is still very real. And every now and again, I do fall back into it, choosing the least important but easiest job, or just prolonging something that should take an hour into a day-long project.
The last time I did this, a week and a half ago.
I’d had a ton of stuff to do, and I was working constantly from around 8a.m. I was out teaching the following day, and I wanted to make sure things went really smoothly, so I’d decided that I should finish at 5pm and have some much-needed quality time with Mr. G. The poor guy has been seriously neglected since I started the business.
But… I got distracted. I slipped back into my bad habits and found myself on a three-hour detour into a Mindfulness project. Of course, I didn’t know it would be a three-hour detour at the time. And at 11a.m. after I’d been working for hours and got loads done, I reasoned that I was OK and wouldn’t make a difference to my deadline.
The short story is that it did make a difference because the other work I had to do – the stuff that I actually needed to have ready for the next morning – also took longer than I expected. So I actually finished at 8p.m.
I was not happy.
I was exhausted because I’d spent the whole day working, yet frustrated because I didn’t have that time that I’d looked forward to with Mr. G. I hadn’t had that down time I needed to relax. And I knew it was because I’d made the choice to spent time on something that wasn’t important. I felt I’d let both myself and Mr.G down.
So I’ve decided to really cling on to this awful feeling, so that next time I’m tempted to go off-task and waste or mismanage my time, I can remind myself of how I might feel later in the day and accept that there is always a cost; whether this is time with a neglected love one; a phone call to a friend you rarely see; time spent cooking a healthy dinner; a relaxing bath or yoga session or workout to empower or relax…. Whether big or small, there is always a cost.
The hope is that reminding myself of the cost, might encourage me to spend my time more wisely.
Are you a time-waster like me? Has this style of thinking worked for you? Have you any extra tips to share? Comments welcome: