The Bookworm Sez: Putting off procrastination


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You’re hoping someone has a match.

That’s because you need a fire lit under your tail. You’ve been putting things off, lollygagging, dragging your feet, even though you know you’ve got lots of work to do. You need a prod, a poke, a reason to get down to brass tacks.

Or maybe a reason not to. That might be the solution to your procrastination, as you’ll see in “Get It Done” by Sam Bennett.

That unfinished project has been around for long enough. You were excited about it once, but now it’s the gorilla in the room and that makes you want to avoid it even more. Why can’t you just get the dang thing over and move on?

There are three main reasons for being “stuckified,” says Bennett. Maybe it hasn’t been the right time. Maybe you’re scared of the project now. Or maybe you “genuinely don’t care about it” anymore.

The first action to take is to break the project into 15-minute pieces. Set a timer and work on it first thing in the a.m., before you check email (or you’ll procrastinate even more). Remember that “if you find yourself procrastinating, your project is too big!”

Forget about making a to-do list, says Bennett. Instead, make a “could-do” list of things you can do in your 15 minutes. Have an “idea catcher” with you and put your could-do list there, along with inspirations and thoughts you may need for later.

Allow yourself to daydream, which loosens creative blockages. Find an idle task or hobby that takes your mind off the situation — and if that’s not possible, just “stand up and face the other direction” which “quite literally” changes your perspective.

Track your progress. Remember that perfectionism “is an insidious demon that must be fought with every weapon you’ve got.” Don’t be afraid to “get a C” or to ignore bubble-bursters and naysayers. Learn to budget and know exactly what you need in order “to find exactly what you need.” Cut down on TV, saying “yes,” and disorganization.

And if all else fails, understand that it might be time to relinquish or delegate the project. “It’s possible,” says Bennett, “that you have outgrown this dream.”

Feeling somewhat overwhelmed by a work project? You might feel overwhelmed by the solutions, which is why you’ll want to take your time reading “Get It Done.”

By saying that, though, I’m not implying that author Sam Bennett’s book isn’t helpful; in fact, it’s quite the opposite: Bennett is full of great ideas to foil foot-dragging and her enthusiasm fairly oozes from each page. That’s addicting and inspiring, but ideas come so hard and heavy that I felt like the only catcher at a Major League pitcher tryout. I had to remind myself to breathe.

Still, I can’t imagine that this book wouldn’t be beneficial, even if the first 20 pages are all you read. So grab it, take your time, do the exercises, and you might find that “Get It Done” is, for your situation, quite a good match.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of The Bookworm Sez, which is published in more than 200 newspapers and 50 magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. Schlichenmeyer may be reached at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

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