Alas! We reach the final factor of why we procrastinate: the façade of time. Previously, we’ve discussed two other factors, that is, low expectations and the disconnect between action and reward. The façade of time is, perhaps, the most common reason as to why we procrastinate.
To sum up this factor, we procrastinate when we have the time to procrastinate. Small yet important tasks are swept away by a tide of more urgent matters. In short “I can do it later. So I’m going to do it later. Later is up. Oops.” This factor of procrastination works hand in hand with the disconnect between action and reward. When we know we don’t have to do something immediately, we do other things that are more pleasant in the short-term.
Here are some steps to deal with the façade of time.
Stop Procrastinating… Now!
1) Make a List
This is pretty self-explanatory, but there’s more to it. We often forgo the small things we need to do in order to tackle pressing matters. Typically, these small things come back to bite us in the neck later on. Prioritization is important, but letting the little things slip past you can be detrimental.
To get over this, get a list of little things that need to be done. We like to act on impulse and in many cases little details are overridden by distractions and bigger priorities. While this is common-sense advice, we often overlook it nevertheless. By having a solid list of things to do, the little details you have to attend to are less likely to be forgotten.
More than that, make an effort to consistently strike off things from this list. Get these little details solved on a daily basis. Some may choose to take a few minutes a day to attend to an otherwise forsaken task before moving on to a main priority; others may choose to flip it around. What’s important is that these little details are solved before they come back to haunt you at a later date.
Time makes us complacent. If we think we have the time, we’re going to act like we have the time. Given the sheer amount of distractions we face in life, we may lose track of how much time we actually have to complete a given task, be it a small or big one.
Some may opt for a slightly harsher approach –“Lock the door, throw the key.” That is, we force ourselves to complete a given task no matter what and we isolate ourselves from any possible distractions. This way, even if we think we have the time to procrastinate, there isn’t any alternative but to complete the task at hand.
Some may opt for self-regulation such as travelling to a specific ‘work’ place where there are fewer distractions. Others may enlist outside help in regulating their use of time, such as time-tracking websites or friends eager to dish out pain if you fail to complete a task. The key thing to note here is that the façade of time loses its power when there isn’t any alternative to real action.