Join Brenda Bailey-Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Reason: Overwhelmed, part of Overcoming Procrastination.
Feeling overwhelmed, is another common reason that we procrastinate. You see that monstrous task sort of barrelling at you, and get paralysed into inactivity. You don't have to feel that way. There are a couple of strategies that you can use to get over this reason for procrastinating. One thing you can do is, break down a big project lots of little, bite sized manageable pieces. Maybe you take a big project and it, it has a hundred different steps when you're done breaking it down. But each day, you just choose a few of those steps.
Work your list until finally, the whole project is behind you. That strategy also works well because each day you feel like you have some choice in the matter, because you're picking and choosing among the long list of little bite sized tasks. Setting interim deadlines is another great way to jump-start a project that you're stalled on. In some fascinating research out of the Sloan School of Management at MIT, we identify three different groups. All three groups are asked to do a proofreading project. They know that they're going to be paid more, for every error in these documents that they accurately find.
They also know that there's a penalty in their pay structure, for every day that they submit work late. The first group is simply asked to submit the work three weeks out. So, what happens with that group? They submit on average 70 errors. That's how many they find. But, they turned in their work 12 days late. The second group, was encouraged to set interim deadlines for themselves. This group found more errors, 104 errors on average. And they turned their work in 6.5 days late.
Still late but not as late as the first group. Now that third group, was asked to actually submit work on interim deadlines throughout the three weeks. What happened with them? Well, they found more errors, they did better work than any of the other groups, 136 errors. And their work was only submitted a couple of hours late, as compared to 6.5 or 12 days late. So, what does all of this mean for you? You need to set interim deadlines.
It's going to help you meet your deadline and do better work along the way. So, find an accountability buddy. Be that your colleague, or your boss, and promise to turn in certain parts of work on that project, leading up to your ultimate deadline. See if this helps you get passed feeling so overwhelmed.
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