It’s well known that we represent good people. And, we understand that good people don’t typically find themselves facing a DUI charge unless something isn’t going right in their life. What we hear most often from our clients is that they are under a lot of stress – due to work, school, marriage, money – you name it! To help our clients, we’ve published a few blogs that share some really great ideas for combating stress when life throws you curve balls. But, what about self-imposed stress?
Are you stressing yourself out?
This might come as a surprise to you, but we humans can be our own worst enemy. Some of our habits cause us stress and we don’t even realize it. One thing, in particular, has been around since the start of modern civilization and it’s something that we are all guilty of at one time or another – it’s called “procrastination.” You’ve probably heard of it.
A lot of well-known historical figures have shared their thoughts on procrastination. Benjamin Franklin made a pretty good point when he said, “You may delay, but time will not.” Oh, how that statement really resonates when you’re hours into crunch time, just days before that big deadline. Like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, you realize just how fast time flies by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.
When you think about it, nobody really likes to procrastinate, yet we all do it. Sure, some people claim that they love the pressure of deadlines because it helps them to perform. But, you know those nagging feelings of dread and guilt that haunt you until the pressure of imminent deadlines forces you to get to work? Not only are they unpleasant, they also have a price. A study, published in the American Psychological Society Journal, explains the cost of procrastination – and it’s pretty high. It’s related to depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and stress.
The study assessed college students on a traditional scale of procrastination. Then, the observers monitored their academic performance, stress, and general health throughout the semester. As you would imagine, the “dilly-dalliers” had lower levels of stress compared to others because they were enjoying more pleasurable activities instead of doing their work. However, the results showed that compared to other students, procrastinators earned lower grades and reported higher amounts of stress and illness. In addition to delayed work, the quality of it suffered, as did the procrastinator’s own well-being. On top of it all, if your final product or presentation is only sub-par, then you’re hit with even more awful feelings of regret and embarrassment, adding to your level of stress.
So how do we beat our inclination to procrastinate?
Well, like all things geared towards self-improvement, it takes time. Start out by taking baby steps toward better time management to reduce stress and get you on track to get more done. A recent Forbes article provided great options to help you get started. We’ll highlight some of those suggestions here:
1. Take the Smallest Step Possible
When you don’t feel motivated, take the smallest step possible toward your goal. After taking that step, you’re more likely to continue taking more steps toward the ultimate goal. You naturally want to stay in the momentum.
2. Identify a Positive Outcome from Your Action
Focus on what the reward is when you act. Self-fulfillment, sense of accomplishment, or earning procrastination time (see #5). Just be very selective about what you let into your experience and surround yourself with to keep your energy as clean as possible to achieve the goals you want.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Forgive yourself. For whatever your past experience has been, refocus on doing 5% more toward your goal and give yourself permission to be human at the same time.
4. Shut Off Your Phone and Set a Timer
Making it happen is literally as easy as setting an intention and then shutting out temptations. Put up a do not disturb sign, shut off your phone, and set a reasonable time limit to prove you can do it. This is just another muscle you build so just set the scene to make focusing possible.
5. Schedule (and Stick to) ‘Procrastination Time’ in Your Day
Schedule non-working time into your day so that you allow time for cleaning your desk, taking a walk or doing whatever else it is that keeps you from your work. Having this time blocked in your calendar may eliminate the guilt associated with procrastination. Plus, small breaks clear your head, and a refreshed mind is a productive mind.
6. Set a Few Daily Non-Negotiables
At times, you just simply are not going to feel like completing a task. This is where creating daily non-negotiables comes into play. A daily non-negotiable is something you commit to doing every single day no matter what. It is something you don’t have to think about because you have already committed to doing it.
Written by Destiny Van Rooy
Destiny is our Client Experience Coordinator. She has extensive experience with much of our behind-the-scenes legal work and knowledge of the criminal case process. Her background helps our business and client service continue to grow simultaneously, by making sure that the human element of the legal experience is not lost on the good people we represent. Destiny moved to the Northwest from Arizona, promising to never look back. She’s fully embraced her new life in Oregon and loves riding her bike around Portland. She also loves meeting new people, dancing, crafting and catching live music shows with her husband, London.