Onward we go with our discussion of PROCRASTINATION. Now you have all listed 5 areas of your life and at least one task you are procrastinating doing in that area. If you recall, that was your homework from the last article that I wrote and you read. If you haven’t done it because…….Oh yeah, you were procrastinating, do it now.
Next review the 7 possible reasons for procrastination. They are 1. we’re scared of doing it 2. we don’t like the task, 3. we feel overwhelmed 4. we like waiting until the last minute to feel the “rush” 5. unrealistic view of the time involved, 6. having psychological or physical problems which make the task difficult and last,7. striving for perfection,
Most of us can knock out number 6. That would be a really bad excuse unless it is true. Anyway, put the number or numbers of the reason for your procrastination beside each task. Now take a look. Are a lot of the numbers the same? Is it always feeling overwhelmed or do you not like any of the tasks? This will give you a road map for where we are going.
Next, prioritize the 5 tasks you have chosen to work on in order of most repulsive to least repulsive. Now take the most repulsive task and ask yourself. How important is this? Will my health be affected if it doesn’t get done? Will my income be affected? Will my happiness be affected? Will someone else’s happiness be affected? If you can’t answer yes to any of these questions, consider whether you should do the task at all or if you should delegate it to another to do.
However, if you answered yes, then you must do it. The task won’t go away , it will be exactly the same tomorrow or even bigger. Now, can you break it down in smaller parts ( Such as getting materials together to complete the task)? If you can answer yes to this, then take out your calendar and make an appointment with your calendar to do this first step. The trick is to not calendar it for longer than 7 days ahead, preferably no more than 5 days.(caveat: if it is a time sensitive task, then you need to calendar accordingly, as we lawyers say). Be sure to give yourself enough time to do it. Now forget it and get onto the next most repulsive task you have to do and do this procedure until you have completed all five. Aren’t you proud of yourself?
Now review the reason that you didn’t want to do the most repulsive task. Let’s take an example. You didn’t want to do an Opposition to a Summary Judgment Motion because you are afraid you don’t know how. Or are you overwhelmed because it is a really big task and will take several hours? Or are you basically bored with doing research and legal writing? Can you hear the little kid screaming inside you that doesn’t want to do it period and really only wants to play.
What’s the first thing you can do to break it up in parts? Read the S J motion and mark all the fatal errors and areas that you are going to dispute. Next calendar all of your dates of service, etc. You can probably do that in less than two hours, before starting any research, so calendar just that. Next, calendar time to decide what research you have to do by looking at the areas of dispute and noting the issues. This may take a bit more time but you should come out with specific areas to research. Then calendar for that, not too far in the distant future. The actual writing will have to be calendared within sufficient time to do the proper service, so that needs to be done at some point. And then its all done and you can play.
There is one reason that needs to be address more in depth here. That is feeling overwhelmed. If you can step away and decide that you really just have too much going on in your life and can’t get anything done even by prioritizing, maybe you need to give serious thought to getting help. You could hire a law student or another attorney to do the Opposition. You can hire an organizer to clean out your closets. You can hire a housekeeper to clean your house. You can entice your children with some goodie into feeding the dog and cleaning their rooms.
None of this is easy but identifying and writing down a place in your calendar for each task is the best method for starting to overcome your hesitation. Also you can resort to little tricks, like giving yourself a gift when you complete a task on time This may work for you, or you may have to identify all the negatives things that will happen if you don’t do it…..
OK, now it says in my calendar that its time to go to the Gym…..I’m thinking about hitting DELETE …..