Overcoming procrastination takes effort. We’re all master procrastinators and have spent years avoiding work. We put things off until tomorrow, feeling like we’ll have more energy in the future.
We make bargains with ourselves, thinking today is not the right day.
Maybe it’s our job, errands, or tasks at home. Whatever it is, tomorrow always feels like the better response. We convince ourselves, “Tomorrow I won’t be tired, tomorrow I’ll have more time, tomorrow I’ll have more money.”
But you know what? Tomorrow always comes, and it looks exactly like today.
And then we repeat the cycle, putting off work, and making ourselves miserable. All day. Every day.
Overcoming Procrastination – Sunday Night
As a college student, I hated Sunday night. Sunday night was the worst. It seemed like the most fun was had on Sunday night.
The best TV shows were on, great football games, and my friends were doing fun things.
But the problem with Sunday night, is Monday morning is hours away.
I felt like I had a plague of material due on Monday, and no one else did. No matter the course I took – whether it be Computer Science or Math – there was always a project due on Monday.
It was like my teachers all ganged up and decided to load their syllabuses with Monday heavy due dates. It felt like they were out to get me.
Overcoming Procrastination – Fun
“Hey Joe, we’re going to play floor hockey in the gym. Want to play?” No, I can’t. I have to sit in the computer lab and fix this bug.
“Hey Joe, we’re all jamming ourselves in a tiny car and going out for frozen custard. Want to come?” I can’t. I have to write an essay on the synoptic gospels.
There was always something fun happening and I felt like the biggest loser. Who wants to do work on a Sunday night, when all their friends are out playing?
I certainly didn’t. And I blamed all my professors.
It was everyone else’s fault, except my own.
Overcoming Procrastination – Dread
Sunday night was torture for three years. It was the worst feeling in the world.
Until finally, senior year, I figured out how to overcome that dread.
I made a bargain with myself to never do homework on the weekend. I decided to only work Monday through Friday. If the work wasn’t done by Friday night, then it wasn’t getting done.
And there would be no rushing on Monday morning. The work was either going to be done, or it wasn’t. It was a pass or fail endeavor.
Let me tell you, that discipline isn’t easy. Often times, late on a Friday afternoon, I’d find myself in the library, writing a report. My friends would be lounging around, playing Xbox. But I’d be banging out my homework like a robot.
You know what ended up happening? My weekends became 1,000 times more fun. There was no longer this dread about the work needing to be done on Sunday. No more thinking about the project I had been putting off. I had already accomplished my goal on Friday – when no one else was working – and freed up my entire weekend.
Overcoming Procrastination – Jealous
Then the flip side of the coin began to rear its ugly head. Late on Sunday night, while my friends would be grinding to finish last minute projects, I’d be lying around, watching a movie, or doing lots of nothing. It pissed them off to no end.
“Don’t you ever have work to do?” They’d ask.
“I already did it,” I’d reply.
They never believed me. They thought I had an easy workload and were jealous. Little did they know I had been working harder than them all week long.
Overcoming Procrastination – Magic Bullet
As a college student, that’s a discipline that took me four years to develop. No one told me to do it. It became apparent from my Sunday night dread, that there was a better way to get work done.
If you’re looking for a magic bullet to procrastination, it’s “don’t wait.”
You know what things are piling up and are bothering you. The only way to relieve the pain is to rip the band-aid and get it done today.
Make a plan. Make a contract with yourself. And allow yourself to enjoy the relief and excitement on the other side.
And remember, we all have horrible work that needs to get done. It’s not pleasant. But one way or another it has to be addressed.
It’s up to you. You have to decide.
Do you want to do the work on a Friday or a Sunday night?
What sorts of tasks bother you? How horrible would it be to accomplish those tasks today, instead of waiting for the future?