So, do you find yourself procrastinating quite a bit? Perhaps blowing-off projects or goals both large and small, even when they're critical? Even when they don’t intimidate you, and no one else is trying to dissuade you, as in the “don’t do its” (DDIs), the “can’t do its” (CDIs), or the “shouldn’t do its” (SDIs)?
When none of the above seem to be holding you back, perhaps the all-or-othing (AoN) "syndrome" might be kicking in sometimes. For example, do your first thoughts about a project or goal relate to finishing it all in one go—or at least fairly quickly? And if you doubt you can do that, do you perhaps tell yourself that you'll get to it when you have "more time?"
But maybe that block of time doesn't present itself right away, and the project or deadline starts sending up smoke signals. Here are a few ways you (and some of the rest of us) might deal with "all-or-nothing" before it reaches an uncomfortable stage.
With AoN at the wheel, you might start pulling your records together only when you have a large enough block of time to do it All. So perhaps you’d do very little until the hour is virtually upon you…even as your tax person taps her foot and wrings her hands.
That’s how I used to address tax prep myself, until it Finally hit me that I can eat this rhinoceros a little bit at a time. And maybe you can, as well. Instead of stuffing the whole rhino down in one sitting, perhaps you could snack on it instead?
For example, got a chunk of time? Start pulling together the charitable contributions. When another block of time shows up, sort out your stock sales…or perhaps your mileage deductions or property and/or state tax expenses. Ditto, with home-business expenses and/or medical deductions, and so on.
For many, such an approach can be relatively painless (if “painless tax preparation” isn’t an oxymoron). Just take the process a step at a time until you finish. No panic, no tearing your hair—just a steady march to your accountant or other preparer, or to the forms themselves: bite by bite, step by step. That approach also lends itself nicely to other tedious paperwork some of us routinely duck.
If you’ve already subdued the Tax Rhino, let’s imagine that you’re eyeballing a do-it-yourself (DIY) project instead. For example, maybe that bookcase you bought online is Still waiting for someone to assemble it. So, here might be a practical way to stop procrastinating and get that sucker started And finished.
Just do even a single thing. Perhaps that might be unboxing the bookcase’s component parts (making sure that you safely stash whatever passes for the instructions). When time permits, you might also collect all the pieces in whatever spot you’ve chosen for your bookcase (or find someone to help with or do the actual assembly, if need be).
Another practical step? Study the instructions, which in my own experience can sometimes be pretty inscrutable. And another? Gather whatever tools you need.
Then, over the next few days and whenever you have a little chunk of time, start plowing toward the finish line.
Although getting the ducks in a row during the “prep” process may feel tedious, assembly tends to go faster and smoother if you do at least some of it before picking up the screwdriver. Sure, it takes longer, but you're also more likely to avoid glitches (and fallout) from undue haste.
Here it is: small bites/steps can help a lot of us do big things, whatever they may be. So, next time you find yourself procrastinating unduly, try tackling your project a bite at a time instead. See for yourself how much you can get done that way and how smoothly the progress could go. You might surprise yourself...and that rhino as well. ;-)