I once saw a t-shirt that read “PROCRASTINATORS UNITE (Tomorrow)”, and that is exactly how I am feeling about a particular task I have put off. I am practicing procrastination. The task I need to do is not huge, but I think I am dreading it because I fear I won’t be very good at it and I’m afraid it won’t turn out well. What is the task? It’s refinishing a garden bench.
Why am I so afraid of it turning out poorly? Why does it matter so much? Am I afraid because it’s an unfamiliar situation, something I’ve never done before? I can only conclude that I am worried because it’s a special bench which stood in my parents’ backyard for years, and now that it is mine, I don’t want to ruin it. So here we have the first important step to overcome procrastination.
Identify Why You Are Dreading the Task (In my case, I am afraid of doing it wrong, causing ruin, etc.)
Now that you have named your problem, if the problem is related to the fear of doing something wrong, it’s time to employ a decision-making strategy I read about years ago in a book by the renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, called Take the Risk. In this book, Dr. Carson outlines the process he uses when faced with difficult, often life-or-death, decisions. He asks himself four questions: 1) What is the worst possible outcome if I do this? 2) What is the best possible outcome if I do this? 3) What is the worst possible outcome if I don’t do this? 4) What is the best possible outcome if I don’t do this? Here we have the second important step to overcome procrastination.
Employ the Dr. Ben Carson Method of Decision-Making
In my case, refinishing the bench, the worst that could happen if I do this is that the bench would look crummy and I would have to sand again then refinish again. The best that could happen if I do this is that the bench would look much better than the faded state it is in now. Also, I have to remind myself, and maybe this will help you too, Dr. Carson uses this method to make decisions about a patient’s LIFE, while I am making a decision about a BENCH. Hmmm…
Yes, I definitely am going to proceed with refinishing the bench, but how? Now we arrive at the third and final step to overcome procrastination.
Find a Trusted Resource You Can Rely on and Seek Wisdom About How to Proceed
I always need to have a plan, and to establish my plan for this task, I executed a simple internet search to find an article by Glenda Taylor in the Home Guides section of the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle titled “How to Refinish Teakwood”. Her simple, step-by-step directions gave me the courage to embark upon the first step of the process, which was cleaning the wood. So, that’s done now. I’m just waiting for the perfect day to perform the sanding outside. Am I procrastinating again? Are you procrastinating right now by reading this blog article? If you would like to extend your procrastination, you might enjoy watching this 14-minute TED Talk by Tim Urban called “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”.
What Did You Think?
Did you watch the video? Are you still procrastinating? If you would like to continue procrastinating for a while longer, please consider sharing your thoughts about this blog post. Do you have your own strategies that help you overcome procrastination? Does procrastination work well for you? Do you have any good procrastination examples? I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts. PROCRASTINATORS UNITE (Tomorrow)!
Update (3 days later)
Hey, all of you procrastinators (or recovering procrastinators out there)! I finished the bench, and it turned out okay. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s a lot better than what it was. I think the key to overcoming procrastination in this case was my desire to move on to other, more enjoyable things. I bribed myself and it worked. Now I’m going to reward myself with a good book, a comfy chair and a cup of something refreshing. Hooray!
Thanks for visiting the Fluxing Well site. If you like what you read today and would like to receive the latest posts before they are shared anywhere else, consider subscribing. I hope all of your endeavors to overcome procrastination meet with success!