WHEN it comes to putting things off, we as a nation have it down to a fine art.
According to a new survey, two-thirds of us are living with an unfinished home improvement project – with almost one-fifth enduring it for three years or more.
It's hardly surprising. Most of us are guilty of occasionally omitting to finish some task, perhaps employing delaying tactics or facing missed deadlines. I have a friend who is infamous for coming up with innovative ways to postpone getting started on an unpalatable task.
On one occasion she convinced herself that she could only start a job application once she had counted every single grain of rice in a jar on the nearby kitchen shelf. On another, when faced with the prospect of decorating, she bought herself an easel and canvas then set about doing a portrait of the neighbour's dog.
Which raises the question: procrastination – curse or proactive lifestyle choice? Frankly, I've always thought it has got an unfairly bad press. While colleagues often describe me as being super-organised and efficient, believe me, I can procrastinate with the best of them.
Take this column. I could probably have written it on Tuesday. Yet here I am many days later, ignoring the anxious glances of my editor as she attempts to gauge how far along I am.
Sometimes you simply need the impetus of a deadline looming large to get cracking on something. Or as my friend likes to call it, "thinking time".
According to Professor Joe Ferrari, author of Still Procrastinating?: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, procrastinators often struggle to see the wood for the trees. He recommends cutting down one tree and if that's too much, aim for a lone branch or even some leaves.
Trees. Branch. Leaves. Cut. Got it. Just let me do this one thing first ...
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