There are very few things more relatable than not wanting to take care of tasks, duties, work, chores, errands; you know, anything that isn’t immediately fun. We joke about our “Future Me Problems.” The uncomfortable truth, though, is that Future You is still you, and Future You isn’t going to want to take care of the not-fun tasks any more than Current You does. The things you have to take care of are like a wall between you and future fun, and pushing that wall further into the future just makes the tasks more inevitable and more unpleasant.
It’s funny to sit down and write this post, because it almost feels like it’s been written already. Googling “Procrastination” returns millions of blogs that are varying degrees of more qualified to talk about it than I am, and popular vernacular is full of idioms like “bite the bullet,” “eat the frog,” “cross the bridge when you get to it,” “let the sword fall,” “rip off the bandaid,” “saved by the bell,” “crap flows downhill,” and countless others about either getting work unpleasant done, not getting work done, and all scenarios surrounding those two.
Neither I nor these other writers are going to fix procrastination. We all do it, and it’s been an issue forever. In fact, this is one of my my own major issues that I struggle with. I’ve even touched on some of the topics in this post in previous posts like Backup Your Memory because it’s on my mind pretty frequently.
The strategy for work and chores I’ve been trying to implement recently is to make a habit of immediate action. This mostly relates to things like cleaning tasks, like doing dishes or preparing laundry. Nothing make unpleasant worse than seeing it all pile up. When chores are small, they’re easy to tackle. Doing it this way almost feels like there isn’t work to be accomplished sometimes; It’s done way before it becomes an issue.
I also like to take care of chores before doing anything fun, sort of using my fun plans as a reward for completing my chores. If I know I'm meeting up with friends for some drinks, sometimes I'll start cleaning my apartment about an hour or two before I leave for the night. I'll be leaving at the same time I had planned, but my house is also clean! As an added bonus, I know I'll be waking up to a clean house and an empty “to do” list.
I usually balk at logical solutions for procrastination, because we don't procrastinate for logical reasons. We do it unconsciously and simply because we'd rather be having fun and we don't have a roadmap for dealing with responsibilities. The way I'm approaching the issue is a little bit of logic and a little bit of habit forming. Do your work the second it comes up because, logically, it makes sense to get it off your plate quickly, and training yourself to make that your default reaction to learning of a task or work responsibility simply gives you a plan of attack that can guide you through to a productive conclusion.