Hmmm... What can I do instead of my tax return...?!

Hmmm… What can I do instead of my tax return…?!

The Forge team are a busy bunch. Massage therapist Nicky McClean makes and sells cushion; Giuliana Newman is taking a course in garden design; physiotherapist Federico Febbraro is in training for the London to Brighton bike race. That’s not to mention their family and social commitments.

Procrastination helps us to avoid tasks that we find stressful – like filling out that tax return! It also means we don’t get things wrong – you can’t make mistakes if you don’t do the task.

However, procrastination only stores up stress for the future. Wasting time at the beginning of a project means you’ll be up against the deadline when you do start work on it. Despite the sheer amount the team manage to get done, they too have to fight against procrastination.

Here are their top tips on how to nip procrastination in the bud:

  • Just three things. Sometimes procrastination can be brought on by the sheer length of your to-do list! To combat this, make a note of just three things that you need to get done today. Prioritise the things that are necessary. If you have time after doing these three things, stay on a roll and tackle a few more things.
  • Just 15 minutes. Decide that you will spend just fifteen minutes on something you hate – maybe that’s cleaning the bathroom or washing the dishes. Set a timer and aim to be done by the time it goes off. You’d be surprised what you can achieve in this short space of time and how eager you’ll be to stay the course and finish if you’re not quite done when the timer goes off. Sometimes just starting is half the battle.
  • Know when to give in to it. Sometimes the desire to watch a film or bake a cake rather than tackle your to-do list isn’t procrastination. It could be your mind’s way of telling you that you need to take a break. Have a think over the last week or so – if you’re struggling to remember when you last took some me-time, you probably need a break. While this may seem counter-productive, taking care of yourself is an investment in your future and you’ll avoid burnout. It needn’t last the whole day, decide to have the morning or evening to yourself and stick to that decision – otherwise you may fall back into procrastination!
  • Be selective. Is “Attend hot yoga class” on your to-do list because you want to do it or because you feel you should? Strip your to-do list of everything you don’t want or need to do. Suddenly you’ll have fewer things to do, you’ll be able to prioritise better and get more done – no overwhelm!
  • Reward yourself. You are not immune to bribery. And you probably do deserve that ice cream if you’ve spent a sunny morning getting your accounts in order.