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Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash 

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Margaret Thatcher said: « Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan ». Sounds easy. But what if we plan the hell out of our work…and then get stuck?

All of a sudden, there is a white wall in front of us with no door. The project seems too complex anyways. And we will probably fail. It can probably wait a bit. And then something else comes up that looks much more urgent, and interesting, and fun. Like a Facebook ad leading us to an event invite and a blog article like this one… as soon as we look up, three hours are gone and our plan did not work out. Excuses and distractions are ubiquitous and very easy to find. Procrastination is the name of the game.

Yes, your project can wait. And there is enough interesting information out there to keep you busy and excited for the next couple of years. And you will master the situation last minute if needed. Yet, how do you feel after procrastinating? Probably frustrated and exhausted to find excuses and justify your delay. Tired from rescheduling, starting again, never having a free mind.

So what are the actual causes of procrastination? Why does our brain stop us from working our plan? There are technical reasons like the project is actually too complex or we over-estimate the time the task takes. But most of the time, the causes are psychological. Often, we are afraid of failing or succeeding and prefer to stop before heading off into the unknown. Or we are the perfectionist kind and cannot move on unless the tasks are completed to our full satisfaction. Sometimes the underlying reason behind that is actually a lack of self-confidence and a need to prove that we are perfect.

Now, think about the benefits of not procrastinating. If you get your unpleasant tasks out of the way and work your plan, you will be able to reduce your stress and frustrations and enjoy much more free or me-time. Imagine the difference between the kid whose mother has been yelling after for three hours because he kept procrastinating on his homework and the kid who had three hours of free time to play with his mates…

Here a couple of tips to tame the little devil on your shoulder that tells you to procrastinate:

  • If you can’t get started, the first step is probably too big. Divide the task in small and feasible sub-projects.
  • Follow your instinct to make faster decisions. Do not spend too much time thinking about the perfect answer.
  • Always visualize the end state and keep your goal in mind.
  • Combine pleasant and unpleasant tasks, like running on a treadmill while watching your favorite show.
  • Give yourself a time limit for completing the task. Use a timer, and avoid cheating.
  • Learn how to better estimate the time the tasks take. Do you over- or under-estimate the time? Keep a time log to understand how you actually spend your time.
  • Give yourself a reward when you finish the task or project, like taking a bath after studying for your exam.
  • Work the difficult projects during your personal peak hours, i.e. when your energy is at its highest.

And now, stop reading this, and start working your plan!

If you live in Geneva and want to know more about paper management and personal admin, why don’t you sign up for our next workshop?

20 November 2019: La Gestion du Temps – priorisation et planification
Location: SoHappy, Rue de Carouge 28, 1205 Geneva
Time: 18-20h
Price: 50 CHF per workshop
Language: French
Register at: info@organizing-geneva.com

Author's Bio

Lascols 02 2019 7Anna Lascols is the founder of Organizing Geneva and your decluttering expert.

Her mission as a professional organizer is to improve people’s lives by coaching them how to set up and maintain efficient systems to keep their time and space in order. Anna helps her clients to visualize their ideal lifestyle and works side-by-side with tem to reach their goals. These can range from redesigning their closet à la Marie Kondo to getting their paperwork under control, improving their time management skills or preparing for the arrival of a baby.

Anna is a KonMari Consultant and a member of the Swiss Association of Professional Organizers (Swiss-APO). She works in and around Geneva and provides her services is English, French, German and Spanish. She offers personal organizing sessions, virtual coaching and organizes workshops on various organizing and zero waste topics.

To learn about Anna, please visit her website: https://organizing-geneva.com