Managing Procrastination

I used to be a champion procrastinator but, over the last few years, have gotten a lot better at managing my work schedule – almost to the point that I end up doing things well ahead of time.

The techniques I use to get around my procrastinational tendencies were mentioned in the recent PsyBlog post on ‘How to Avoid Procrastination: Think Concrete’. These are:

  • Breaking down complex tasks into concrete and much more manageable bite-sized pieces
  • Self-imposing a schedule (with deadlines) on yourself and then sticking to that schedule

Surprisingly, these techniques pretty straightforward to execute and they work really well too. Yes, I am simplifying a bit here so read the full PsyBlog post for the details. Also read this post: ‘Getting Big Projects Done: Balancing Task-Focus with Goal-Focus’.

I also have a theory on why it's easy to procrastinate on simple, low-value, 'chore'-type tasks. My theory is that these tasks don't present much of a challenge to you so, in an attempt to make your life more exciting, your subconscious delays doing them. That way, you’re forced to do them in a rush and at the last minute which, basically, ends up making the tasks more challenging and your life a little less mundane.

Of course this also happens because the tasks themselves aren’t all that important so they get put in your lowest priority queue which, by definition, means you’ll only do them when you really have to…but I’m sure my theory is also partly true. Anyone have any other theories?