Well I am a world class procrastinator. My skill for this has come from two things – my desire for perfection and the need to excessively research everything and anything. I’m in the midst of planning my wedding and despite having years to prepare, it has taken me a long while to make any kind of decision or progress with the planning of it.
I recently read an article – ‘How to Master the Art of Just Start’ – which really resonated with me…
“Procrastination is not waiting and it is more than delaying. It is a decision to not act,” psychologist Joseph Ferrari tells the American Psychological Association. “It is very helpful and useful to gather information to make an informed decision, but when one simply continues to gather beyond the point of adequate resources, then they are being indecisive and the waiting is counterproductive.”
I certainly was at the point of gathering way too much information but with the help of my very decisive husband to be, things have got off the ground. I made lists, set deadlines and decided to focus on getting one thing done each day, no matter how small or large that ‘thing’ is. Which very neatly leads onto something else that I read (I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently…maybe avoiding something?!) – “Why Multitasking Is a Myth That’s Breaking Your Brain and Wasting Your Time”. I’m a mum to two young children, multitasking is what I do, but I think this article really has got a good point to make.
“The truth is, you can only truly multitask (accomplish more than one task simultaneously) if:
One or more of the tasks is “second nature. In other words, it is so well-learned that no real thought is necessary to complete the task, like chewing gum or walking.
The tasks being performed involve different brain processes. For instance, if you’re reading a book, you can listen to classical (instrumental) music at the same time, but if you listen to music with lyrics, you won’t retain as much of the information you’re reading. This is because both reading and listening to songs with words activate the language center of the brain. And the brain literally cannot process more than one task in any given category at a time.”
So yes, I can wash up and nag the children to eat their tea (a task which is obviously second nature!) but anything much more demanding really shouldn’t be done simultaneously – “Research has shown that multitasking takes as much as 40 percent more time than focusing on one task at a time -more for complex tasks.”
And this really applies to my work as well, I find myself zipping through my to-do list a lot quicker (and more satisfyingly) when I focus on one thing at a time. I’m really not happy doing an ‘ok’ job of anything, and this is often the result of multi tasking.
“Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know have designated times for checking email, using social media and making phone calls. They focus on that one task until they’re caught up, then move to the next. In the meantime, whatever they aren’t focusing on is closed. No email notifications all day, no Facebook message popups and no answering calls that aren’t necessary, unless it’s that tasks time for attention.”
I would love to be as disciplined as the above describes however my need to know exactly what’s going on at all times is going to get in the way of that, but I think that I can definitely take something from this. Being far more organised and focused in my daily tasks, scheduling them in my diary and resisting the distraction of things that really can wait.
Have a read of the 2 articles if you are a little bit like me and you might start to get things done a lot quicker, with a lot less stress!