“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” This Spanish proverb sums up the common human tendency to procrastinate. But we don’t have to give in to this urge. Often the best approach is to “Just Do It,” as the Nike trademark says. It may be helpful to think about why we’re procrastinating. Maybe it seems easier to put your responsibilities aside when you feel overwhelmed, overworked or distracted by more enjoyable pursuits. However, when you postpone too many projects, your life can feel disorganized and out of control. “If you avoid your responsibilities or certain tasks for too long, they can pile up and start to affect your mood,” said Beth Santine, director of clinical services at New Directions, a company that provides behavioral health services for many Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members. “In some cases, it can escalate to anxiety and even depression. For that reason, staying organized and completing tasks on time can be really beneficial for your mental health in the long run.” With these thoughts in mind, here are some good tips to avoid procrastination and learn to focus on the tasks at hand:
- Make a “To do” list, put timelines on it and commit to completing your tasks on time.
- Motivate yourself to get your work done by listening to music or giving yourself a pep talk.
- Visualize what it will take to complete each item on your list. Imagine what you’ll be able to do once that task is complete and off your checklist.
- Break your projects into short-term and long-term tasks to help you manage your time.
- Limit your checklist to 10 items per day and address the most important items first.
- If necessary, delegate your responsibilities to others.
- Celebrate when you meet deadlines. A short break, a night out or even a special activity can help you prepare for the next project.
Remember: If you’re having a problem with procrastination, there are many books and articles on time management and avoiding procrastination, so be sure to check them out. You really can correct the situation, put your life in order and get your work done on time. If you continue to have problems with procrastination — especially if you’re struggling to focus at work, balance your work-life responsibilities or navigate a big life change — consider talking with a behavioral health specialist to get some guidance. If you’re a Blue Cross member, call the number on the back of your ID card or click on Find a Doctor in the left-hand column of the bcbsm.com homepage to find a psychologist, social worker or other behavioral health professional in your area. If you liked this post you may also find the following helpful:
- 10 Things That Can Contribute to Lower Stress Levels
- Stressed? Get Organized and Relax
- How to Help your Mental Health
Sources: New Directions and Delvina Miremadi-Baldino of Life Advantages, LLC Photo credit: fizkes