Are You Ever Paralyzed by Procrastination?

Paralyzed by Procrastination – The Symptoms

paralyzed by procrastinationDo you ever have so much to do that you can’t seem to get anything done at all?

It happens to the best of us.  We have such good intentions.  We’re getting so much done.  That means we can do even more, right?  If you want something done, give it to a busy person!

Suddenly you have pages of projects you want to do, notes all over the house, books you’ve ordered, events you’ve promised to organize, of course new fitness regimens you’ve started, even classes you’ve signed up for.

You Are Paralyzed by Procrastination

But a day still has 24 hours and no matter how much you multi-task, you can still actually do one thing at a time.

And one thing at a time is all that is getting done!  That includes the things you used to do, things you truly must do and things you definitely should do…and they are all fighting with the new things you started that seemed such a good idea at the time.

You have too much to do, literally, and spend more time rewriting endless lists than doing any of them.  You’re stressed, confused and probably not sleeping enough, thinking that will help.  But it doesn’t.  You get further and further behind.

Your To-Do List is a Virtual Junk Drawer!

junk drawer

Your to-do list is a virtual junk drawer!

When this happens to me, it is almost always self-imposed overload.  I let too much information in, get inspired to try all kinds of projects, accept invitations I shouldn’t and can’t even keep track of it all.  Who could?  No one without a huge staff and that is definitely not you or me!

Whether it is your own projects, things you’ve promised to do for your family or what you must do at your job, I think we can prevent becoming overloaded and paralyzed by procrastination.  I’m good at controlling both spending and clutter so why not use the same techniques with our time?

After all, our time is the most valuable thing we have.  Money is nothing but time stored up.  We exchanged our work hours for something someone else wanted and money is the measure.  We want to be very careful how we spend both.

After a certain point, the to-do list becomes a virtual junk drawer as bad as clutter….and that point is when we cannot complete it during normal waking hours.

How to Use The 30-Day List

So here’s my simple rule for spending money beyond routine expenses.  I put it on a 30-Day List.  Whether it’s a new outfit, a vacation, a new toy, something for my household, if it’s more than $50 or so, it goes on the Thirty Day List.

If I still want it after 30 days, only then do I go shopping!  I used this method in bringing up my son, too.  Of course when he was under 10, he forgot about most things he thought he wanted in far less than seven days!

Something In/Something Out

Clutter appears everywhere whether we buy things or not!  Between, gifts, things we borrowed, things from other family members, photos, books, mail, magazines, newspapers….the sources of clutter are absolutely endless.  So I’ve always aimed at making sure that if something new comes in my house, something else must go out.

This is a wonderful guideline for children, too.  New toys are even more fun when they give away one that won’t have time to play with any more so some other child can enjoy it.  I have my happiest times when there is at least some empty space in drawers and closets, leaving room for something wonderful to come in!

We Can Use a 30-Day List for Time Commitments, Too!

Instead of a goal list, I’ve started a 30-Day Project List.  No more notepads by the bed!  If something is REALLY important, I go to my desk and write it down there.

As for those new ideas that seem to sprout all day long, instead of any illegible scribble on my to-do list, I add them to the 30-Day Project List and then forget about it.  To keep it as small as possible, I made an excel sheet.  At the end of the month, if it’s still something I think is to die for, then I schedule it in my daily tasks.

Something really important shouldn’t be crowding out our family time, exercise time, sleep time, romance time and meditation time.  In the same spirit as something in/something out, if it still matters in 30 days, I will eliminate something else to make a block of time for the new project.

Four Simple Steps to Freedom

  1. Create Your 30-Day List.  Gather up all the notes, goal lists, folders, unread books and add them.
  2. Eliminate anything you can now.  If you’re already wondering why you started something, get yourself free.  Don’t feel guilty even if you paid for supplies, tuition or anything else. Even giving away unread books is such a relief.  And I just noticed Amazon is begging us to put them up for sale.  If you get a few dollars you will feel much less conflicted about buying it to begin with.
  3. Control What Comes In.  This means anything that costs time.  You can only “afford” meals, sleep, family time, exercise and whatever precious time you have for friends/reading/relaxation.  If something new doesn’t fit into the time you already have allotted for these, put it on the 30-Day List and it will work itself out.
  4. Review your 30-Day List once a month.  There will probably one or two things on it you still want to do and now have time for.  Put them on your to-do list and cross off the rest.

So what do you think?  Yesterday I realized I was paralyzed by procrastination and hadn’t even written a post for you in two weeks so I am taking drastic action!  Right now my desk is clean, my 30-Day List is full and my to-do list is nice and short.  I’ll report back in thirty days!

Sal Ayub
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