Slay the procrastination monster with these top tips


Lori Milner from Beyond the Dress recommends you turn off those email alerts and focus.

Ex-procrastinator turned TED presenter Tim Urban admits that procrastinating works for many people. He calls it the procrastinator’s system - which is when a procrastinator could spend two weeks unable to start the opening sentence of a paper, and “then miraculously finds the unbelievable work ethic to stay up all night to write eighty pages.” 

“It’s not pretty, but in the end, it works,” he says. 

But Urban says the long-term effects of procrastinating are quite frankly, tragic. Chronic procrastination makes people “feel like a spectator in their own lives. The frustration is not that they couldn’t achieve their dreams; it’s that they weren’t able to start chasing them.” 

Procrastinators, take comfort! Here are some top tips to beat the procrastination impulse when you’ve got a looming deadline:

Don’t just have one deadline for your project – break it up
Your presentation on the financial year-end is in three weeks’ time and you’ve marked it in your calendar as “D-Day”.  This singular deadline is an open invitation to delaying it because it’s far away. Breaking the project down and having a timeline means that you’d have completed the introduction to the presentation by tomorrow close of business, and worked on the first three slides by the following day’s close of business. This creates urgency and fires up the procrastinator.

Don’t open your email inbox until noon
Lori Milner of Beyond the Dress says that one way of owning your time is to delay opening your email inbox until a good portion of your priority to-do list has been crossed off for the day. If you get alerts on any of your devices when a mail comes through, disable them.  For those who get distracted easily, this is an excellent way to focus on what’s important. If it is life-threateningly urgent, you’ll find out about it in any case. 

[cfocoza-cta slug=finance-indaba-africa-2019-register-for-free] 

There’s no such thing as perfect 
A perfect situation, insists Lori, doesn’t exist. Procrastination is often caused by perfectionism, usually said by the words: “I am waiting for the right time and for a, b and c to fall into place before I start this.” 

Perhaps though, you don’t want to start something because it’s misaligned with who you are. It would be useful then to ask yourself honest questions about what your goals really are and how best you’re going to achieve them. Maybe you don’t want to learn French after all and that’s why you haven’t been completing your homework. Being true to yourself may finally slay the procrastination monster. 

Lori at Beyond the Dress will help you appease the gratification monkey and achieve your goals through focus and dedication. Visit the CFO SA Training page to sign up for “Own Your Time”. You’ll qualify for a 10 percent discount if you sign up with the code CFO2018.
Here’s some feedback from professionals who have completed the course: 

“We want to take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent service we received from you during the Graduate Programme. You were an excellent facilitator and I don’t think this programme would have been as successful without you. You have excellent work ethics and commitment. The graduates enjoyed the training immensely.”
Nivesh Lutchman – Learning and Talent Development Siemens South Africa

“We have worked with ‘Beyond the Dress’ to host several events held in celebration of Women’s month. Our experience with Beyond the Dress has been great. Lori and her team are always professional, organised, easy to work with, easily accessible, and were able to improvise when needed. Alexander Forbes considered it a real pleasure working with Beyond the Dress.”
Butsi Tladi – MD of Alexander Forbes Health 


Related articles

Three CFOs’ guide to managing boardroom expectations

Productivity SA CFO Okuhle Sidumane, Sappi Southern Africa CFO Pramy Moodley and BMI Coverland FD Tammy Narain explain how effective expectation management helps them ensure every engagement with their board is a success.

From small-town beginnings to the C-suite

CFO Barbara Makhubedu learnt the value of support, determination and relationships from a very young age, and uses those same values as she leads finance at Liberty Two Degrees.