Ask the Organizer
Mrs. Devora Farrell
Ahhh, the joys of procrastination! As if a task’s position on my To Do List guarantees its completion (No?). Can you guess what one entry might be? Yes. This article. I love writing them, and rarely need more than one draft. However, and this is a big however, I first have to come up with a topic without repeating myself. Then, I walk around (masked and distanced) for a few days letting the topic simmer. Finally, I sit down and pound it out. Sounds like a good process, right? What if I haven’t chosen a topic? The process halts at the first step. Those are the weeks you don’t see me in these pages. So, here I am today. Can I cross it off my list since I already started writing it? As my older brothers used to chant, “Cheaters never prosper!” Keep plugging away, Devora.
1 – Does the task truly need to be done at all? If not, then put it on your To Don’t List.
2 – Can the task be done by anyone else (put it on THEIR To Do List)? Even if it won’t be done perfectly, even if you have to pay. Done is better than perfect.
3 – Does the task need to be done now? If it’s due in the future, break it down into bite-sized steps, scheduling them in reverse order so it will be done by the deadline
If we’re really honest with ourselves, there are some tasks that we’re capable of doing, but hate doing (think cleaning bathrooms). It doesn’t mean you are spoiled (well, you might be, but that’s a different article). It does mean you’re normal. Our lifetimes are finite ( a possible exception would be a prophet ). We were each gifted with our own skills, talents, preferences, limitations. We can only express them if we commit the crime…I mean time. What’s that other saying? “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” If you’re anything like me, I act as if changing the world in my unique way is the reward for completing the boringly mindless daily tasks instead of the other way around. Somehow, that time slips away and I can’t contribute what only I have to offer. And that doesn’t tend to bring us to our Happy Place. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Case in point – I recently hired an administrative assistant and a marketing professional (and added cleaning lady hours). Once I was relieved of my less-than-competent forays into those tasks, a lot of time became available to schedule clients to help – my favorite way to spend my time. Organizing. For Realsies. It relaxes me. Go figure. Aside from my personal relief from not having to do what I don’t like, the people I hired are significantly better than me at it in any case. And those tasks are finally actually getting done.
So, one reason people procrastinate is that they just don’t want to do whatever it is they’re avoiding. Another common excuse, I mean “reason,” is the seeming enormity of the task. I have a little game I play when I’m in that position. I choose one micro-item of the whole project and just do that, e.g. if there’s a form I need to complete, I’ll start by filling in my name and the date. That counts as having started, and somehow, just dipping my toes in gives me the courage to go further.
What are you putting off? Me? I just finished this article!
Go to thisorganized.com to join our fun challenge with accountability and support provided. No hints. To schedule your in-person (COVID rules observed) or virtual organizing session, call Mrs. Devora Farrell at (973)919-7761.