Thursday, November 5, 2015

Never Procrastinate Again

As a former student of architecture I have many stories of late night studio sessions and last minute attempts to complete a semester's worth of work in one night. One thing that architecture taught me is to properly plan and execute work in advance. Procrastination is not a one time thing. It is the result of putting off what can be done today for tomorrow numerous times. There are usually many opportunities along the way to handle the task, but it is always easier to wait until later. Instead of continuing down this path of stress and lack luster products produced last minute, allow me to suggest an alternative solution.

Before we get into the tips I would like to share one of my many blunders on the road to recovery. It was in my sophomore year of college and the assignment for the semester was to build a functioning chair that could hold the weight of an adult. As if this assignment was not difficult enough, the only material we could use to construct the chair was cardboard. I began by creating all of the prerequisite model chairs and drawings to accompany my design. The only issue was that I was at no point actually assembling the chair. This was not something that I was going to be able to throw together overnight and although I knew this I continued to evade the task. That is until the end of the semester came and I either had to turn something in or fail the course. Needless to say I completed the assignment, but the work I turned in was not to my standards. Not only that, but I was ashamed of the obvious lack of effort I had put into the assignment. So, in an effort to save you all from taking a similar misstep I am going to give you some of my tips for stopping procrastination in its tracks.

My Top Reasons for Procrastinating

When I took some time to think about the reasons behind my avoidance of certain tasks, I came up with a few determining factors. I am usually guilty of one if not all of the following:


This exercise in examining my own flaws gave me the opportunity to witness behavior that I may have otherwise overlooked. I had been doing this for years without so much as acknowledging that it was a problem. What I found is that beneath all the excuses and legitimate reasons to put off work was fear. I allowed the feeling of inadequacy to prevent me from even attempting to achieve my dreams. So, in order to correct this issue I began to seek out ways to face my fears. Instead of creating distractions, I would go out and do the thing that scared me. In July I joined a new social media platform called Periscope. I originally joined to follow Rebekah Borucki, who is an amazing meditation guide that I found on YouTube. After a month or so I started feeling the need to share my message via Periscope, but my immediate reaction was absolutely not. Since I can remember I have dreaded being the center of attention, so as one might imagine this idea had me shaking in my boots. I continued to ignore the feeling until I attended Periscope Summit in late September. In this isolated space with people who shared the same genuine excitement and intrigue, something clicked for me. I decided to begin broadcasting immediately and share my personal journey with whoever cared to tune in. While I have not been as consistent as I should be, it is a small step in the direction of overcoming the discomfort I originally associated with the idea.

A Perceived Lack of Resources

Do not be afraid to ask for help. No man or woman is an island and no one excels at everything. The longer it takes you to ask for help, the longer it will take you to get the results you desire. Of course I understand that everyone's time is valuable, so this is not a request for free labor. In asking for what you need also offer something of value to the other person. Whatever skills you possess that they could benefit from offer that up as an even exchange for their help.

Positive Motivators

There is a saying that we are the sum of the five people we surround ourselves with. Take an inventory of the people that you spend the most time with and determine whether they are whom you want in your life. Do they reflect the vibe that you want? Are they pushing you in the direction of your goals? If not, it may be time to reassess. Believe it or not the attitude of those around you is as crucial to your success as your own mindset.

These are the factors that I have found caused me to waste valuable time spinning my wheels when I could have been out there chasing my dreams. If this resonates with you please feel free to try any of these tips or come up with your own. Let me know in the comments below what causes you to procrastinate.

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