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Stop Procrastination:
How to quit procrastinating and putting things off!

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"Voila, monsieur!"

I looked down at the plate, and looked back up at the waiter. Was that it?

My main course consisted of a thin sliver of meat, some honey-glazed carrots, and a piece of lettuce. It looked pretty sitting all alone in the middle of the plate.

"Enjoy!" smiled the waiter, and he was gone.

So this was French nouvelle cuisine?! I was more used to the "hide-the-plate, pile 'em high, don't-let-me-see-any-ceramic" system of food portions. If I didn't have the fleeting thought, "I might die trying to eat all this," then it just wasn't a proper meal.

Three gulps and I was done.

Pow! It struck me that we are habituated to taking on more than we can chew. We get stuffed, bloated, overwhelmed. Some people look at their loaded plates and think, "I'll eat it later when I feel hungry."

Procrastination is when you look at what's on your plate and you think: No way! It's a mountain. I can't do it.

Ever see a Texan steak? It still has hooves and horns on it! Most of us look at it and think: No way, it'll kill me!

Whenever you think it's too much for you to manage, do what they do in French resturants. Cut it up. Chop it into smaller portions. Eat it one small appetizing bite at a time, one small meal at a time.

In NLP, this is called 'chunking'.

CHUNKING: Organizing or breaking down some experience into bigger or smaller pieces. Chunking up involves moving to a larger, more abstract level of information. Chunking down involves moving to a more specific and concrete level of information. Chunking laterally involves finding other examples at the same level of information.

Chunking means, you take that big overwhelming hunk of Texan steer, and you slice it up, until it's in smaller chunks. If you look at those chunks, and they still look too overwhelming, cut them into even smaller chunks. Keep going until you get to a bite-sized morsel where you think, "yes, I can easily eat that." Then just eat it one small chunk at a time, one small meal at a time. And keep going day-after-day until you've eaten the whole darn thing!

When you have a project that seems too big. Chunk it down. Break it up. And then go through it one bite at a time.

When I finished that meal in the French resturant, I was sorely tempted to leave a nouvelle cuisine sized tip! However, I felt pleasantly energised. I had eaten a starter, main course and dessert, and yet I didn't feel stuffed. I was satisfied even though I could have eaten more...

You're a genius with big ideas. Sometimes those ideas are stacked up on your plate and just seem too darn big. You don't know where to start. But now you do. Break it up. Cut it into chunks. Eat it in small portions consisting of several small bites. Not only will you feel fulfilled by every little section of the project that you consume. You'll also always be hungry for the next portion.

Stay hungry is the philosophy for overcoming mental hesitation and to quit procrastinating...



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Stop Procrastination


Structured Procrastination: John Perry's essay on structured procrastination explores the idea that we have a heirarchy of things to do. He points out that procrastinators do not do nothing, they usually do marginally important things. We tend to procrastinate on the things that are highest on that heirarchy of importance. Here he suggests a way of using this habit of procrastination in a structured way. It's worth reading.

Overcoming Procrastination: University of Buffalo's Student Affairs councelling service says procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. Here they offer sage guidance to students on why they might be experiencing procrastination and what to do about it.

Procrastination Research Group: everything you (n)ever wondered about how you procrastinate and where to look for the answers. Articles and research on task avoidance, dilly-dallying and all forms of procrastinating.

Fast Facts: Procrastination: fast facts strategies on how not to put things off including planning, discipline, goal setting and getting help.

Procrastinating: University of Illinois Counseling Center's advice to students on overcoming hesitation and lack of motivation to do the work.

Do you Procrastinate?: Queendom offers a 40 question test to discover if you are a serious procrastinator and offers specific tips based on your score!

TimeStarvation: great site offering useful tips on eliminating procrastination and saving your valuable time.

Got Feedback? I'd love to hear from YOU! Email me: wily[at]wilywalnut.com


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