Like most people, I delay things I don’t want to do until the very last possible minute. Why don’t I do it sooner? Well, because I don’t have to.
Whether I write that email today or tomorrow, I’m really just spending 20 minutes of my time. There’s no way around it, I’m losing those 20 minutes. Since I don’t feel like doing it now, I’ll push it back to tomorrow. Maybe I’ll feel like doing it then.
This seems to make sense, and at least for me, this is usually how I justify procrastinating to myself. But, lately there’s something that I’ve started noticing. If I hold off on getting something done right away, it tends to pop back into my head. Every time this nagging task comes to the forefront of my mind, I get distracted from what I’m doing.
I may be playing a game, watching a movie, or trying to get some other work done. Whatever it may be, when something unrelated comes to mind, it takes me away from what I’m engaged in. Then I get less enjoyment from playing games, I stop paying attention to the movie, and it slows my work down.
What seemed like just 20 minutes I could spend at any time, is now affecting my time spent on other activities. Not only am I not getting the full value out of my time, it may actually cost me more time.
So what I’ve started doing is, whenever there’s something on my mind that I know will keep bugging me, I just get it done. I value my time too much to let myself get distracted unnecessarily.
The more that I worry about something, the more it weighs on me and wastes my time. Especially something like asking for a promotion. I don’t know what will happen and I worry about a bad outcome. Yet, waiting longer won’t change the outcome. It will only cause me to get stressed out and lose sleep over it. It’s clear what I should do, just hope for the best and get it over with.
Worrying about what you can’t control
Unfortunately, there are some things we can’t just get out of the way. You may have an appointment that you’re concerned about, but you have to wait for the appointment. Telling someone not to worry or that it will be fine doesn’t help.
I’ve found what works best for me is to set reminders in my calendar for each of these events. I trained myself not to worry about anything until the reminder comes up. If it’s not in my calendar, I don’t care.
One other thing I’ve found helpful is preparing ahead of time. For example, if I’m going on a trip somewhere and there are some documents I need to bring. I may worry that I’m going to forget to pack what I need. So, I write a list ahead of time, and then when I need to pack, I know I have everything I need.
Stopping yourself from worrying isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. If my approach works for you then that’s great. But don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away or maybe ever. Find what works best for you so you can focus on what you really want to do and be happy. It’s all about minimizing the time you spend worrying and stressed out.
So give it a shot and let me know how it goes. I hope this helps you relieve some of your worries and stress.