Read Part I here.
“It’s too easy.”
Tasks that are too easy can be surprisingly dangerous, because when you put them off, it’s easy to underestimate how much time they’ll take to complete. If you finally sit down to work on them, you will discover you have not given yourself enough time to complete the task (or at least to complete it well).
If a task is too easy, draw connections to the bigger picture, because these connections turn mundane tasks into a fundamental (and do it now) part of your job. For example, you might hate data entry, but when you think about the role the data plays in the strategic objectives of your department, the task becomes worthwhile. When the smaller, seemingly insignificant things don’t get done or get done poorly, it has a ripple effect that’s felt for miles.
“I don’t like it.”
Procrastination isn’t always about a task being too easy or too hard. Sometimes, you just don’t want to do it. It can be very hard to get moving on a task in which you’re disinterested, much less despise.
Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to teach yourself to find something interesting, because certain things will never draw your attention. Rather than pushing these tasks to the back of your plate, make it a rule that you cannot touch any other project or task until you’ve finished the dreaded one. In this way, you are policing yourself by forcing yourself to “eat your vegetables before you can have dessert.”
When you do get started, you can always turn the task into a game. How can you achieve your task more efficiently? How can you change the steps of the process and still produce the same result? Bringing mindfulness to a dreaded task gives you a fresh perspective. The task itself might not be fun, but the game can be.
“I don’t think I can do it.”
You are assigned a new project by your supervisor. In fact, it’s one you’ve wished he or she would give you for a while. However, now that it’s in your lap, you simply cannot get started. You cannot get past thoughts of failure . What’s going to happen if I blow it? How am I going to do this? Could I be fired over this? It can reach a point where avoiding failure seems like the best possible option. After all, if you never engage in a project, you’ll never fail. Right? Wrong. Procrastination itself is failure - failure to utilize your innate talents and abilities. When you procrastinate, you’re failing to believe in yourself.
Remember when you were learning to drive and you could only look straight ahead, because if you looked at something off the road, you’d unwittingly turn the wheel in that direction? Worrying about everything that will go wrong if you fail has the same effect. It pulls you toward failure.
You must shift your mind in a confident direction by focusing on all the positive things that are going to happen when you succeed. When you believe you can do something - and you visualize the positive things that will come from doing well - you equip yourself to succeed. This thought process gets your mind headed in the right direction. Worrying about everything that could go wrong only binds your hands. Break the chains and get started!