I wrote about the incredible impact “The Healing Self” had on me several weeks ago. But recently, feeling particularly disconnected with my health, I decided to pick it up again to remind myself of what it taught me. I wanted to share one lesson in particular with all of you today because I really do think it is a simple game-changer. Those of us with ADD tend to procrastinate, so little tasks that shouldn’t be problematic grow until we are insanely overwhelmed. This passage from the book is a solution to that:
“To stay in the present moment, don’t let small demands pile up. Immediately take care of anything that takes five minutes or less. If you make this a habit, your time management will improve, sometimes dramatically, and you won’t get to the end of the day complaining that you didn’t have enough time to do everything you needed to” (The Healing Self, 41).
I will admit to being particularly bad at this by nature. When I get a bill, sometimes it gives me so much anxiety that I don’t deal with it for several days or even right up until the due date. This obviously creates even more stress.
The same principle applies to daily tasks like keeping my room clean. The longer I put off folding a few things, the bigger the pile gets, until my room is a total disaster zone that keeps me distracted all day. If I take the few minutes to put away my clothes immediately, it saves me so much trouble later.
So try adding in this five minute rule this week and leave a comment if it helps you!
I knew when I decided to start Sara Simply that I needed to write a blog about procrastination, so I started working on this post in July.
And then I literally put it off for six months. Oops.
I have been a chronic procrastinator for a long time. Not only did I procrastinate writing this post, I procrastinated putting together this blog as a whole. I procrastinated getting ready this morning and was almost late to class. I think I procrastinate something every day.
But my procrastination isn’t always caused by disinterest or boredom with the task at hand. In fact, I have always been very excited about this blog and quickly and creatively brainstormed tons of ideas right off the bat. But then there was a disconnect when it came to following through.
It seems like some of us with ADD are just hardwired to procrastinate and that means I can own that I will never be the student who does the reading the day it’s assigned. But there are a few things I do to try to manage my inevitable procrastination.
Some people crave crunch time and need the thrill of the last minute to motivate them. So try to back up what last minute means for you instead of the day before, maybe 2 or 3 before. Trust me, once you get started you will likely feel the same time crunch with just a tad less anxiety.
It’s also important to do something (literally anything) to start the project on the day it’s assigned to you. Even if you just open up and label the word document, having already started makes it easier to go back later and work on it, now that you are over the large hump of starting it.
I’ve also found it helpful to find fellow procrastinators so that we can hold each other accountable. Make a timeline for a project and share it with a friend so they can check in on your progress.
I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve solved my procrastination problem. My classmates and friends can attest that is far from the truth. But with these strategies, I am able to work on trying to build habits to start projects earlier and avoid the anxiety later on.
What have you procrastinated lately? Let me know in the comments!