We all do it. We all do something that is socially unacceptable, and yet simultaneously tolerated. Some of us do it only in the privacy of our own home. Some of us mainly do it at work, where it really shouldn’t be allowed. Some of us dedicate weekends to it. Some of us do it a lot. Some of us recognise this and seek professional help from specialists.
(What did you think I meant?)
On Twitter this morning, my post asked a question, which was “What are you planning to do today that you could have done yesterday?”
Of course, there are some work-related tasks you couldn’t have done yesterday, but I wonder how many things we put on out To Do List are done ‘tomorrow’? Usually small, two- to five-minute jobettes which don’t have to be done in a certain place, or with certain people, or at a certain time.
Nevertheless, we put them on a certain day’s task list for ‘then’.
This is not unusual and it is not my intent to criticise. I did it myself, yesterday. I decided I needed to buy some cycling repair equipment and a couple of notebooks for study purposes, so I diligently placed those To Dos in my planner task list for today. And then pondered why I hadn’t just done them as the thought and need occurred to me to order them on-line, as intended. A two minute job procrastinated for ‘tomorrow’, in the knowledge that I had plenty to do without interrupting an important train of thought for a side-issue – which, addressed during the ‘important’ could and usually would redirect my attention onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the BBC News and a myriad of other distractions. Not to mention Amazon’s insistence that, having bought something people only ever want one of, I might be interested in buying several more.
(I once had three emails in a row from Carphone Warehouse. First – congratulations on upgrading to a new contract. Next – details on delivery dates. Third – how would I like to upgrade?)
“Procrastination is the thief of time,” said (I believe) Ben Franklin and/or Charles Dickens. It is true. 18th and 19th century wisdom still applies, and always will.
Ask yourself, as you add another entry to an already copious number of tasks on your list, whether what it is you are jotting down could have been done just as quickly as getting out the list and the pen and writing it. Even if it takes a little bit longer, dump two-minute jobs out of your head by doing them as they arise, wherever possible. This is a major tenet of David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ philosophy and task-management process (for which some people pay a LOT of money). Free your head of psychic RAM by deleting the data as soon as it appears, simply by doing what you just thought of, NOW.
Apply this thinking when you can – particularly when dwelling on an arising thought results in a whirling tornado of further thoughts emanating from it – last night I had a sleepless half an hour over a domestic conundrum, and a two minute conversation with my son over my concerns sent me back to sleep. Had I waited until morning I’d have been too tired to write this post. As it was, the chat resulted in the discovery of some pertinent solutions which I’d acted on and completed by 0945 today. Meaning lots more time to write this article and then move back on to my second priority for the day – reviewing and editing Police Time Management.
More on that tomorrow. 😊