Most people have the disposition to work on easy, accessible, or pleasant tasks while putting off tasks that seem tedious or difficult.
Using minor tasks to put the big tasks on the back burner is a particularly deceptive form of procrastination. You pat yourself on the back for checking items off your to-do list, but all you’ve done is deferred the more critical, time-consuming work until the end.
Sure, you need to exercise, check your Facebook wall, run errands, tidy your desk, catch up with a buddy, and plan your next vacation. But don’t use these activities as excuses for not preparing the progress report whose due date is creeping up on you.
One of the self-help guru Stephen Covey’s familiar 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) is the discipline of classifying essential things that need to be prioritized. Habit 3, “put first things first.”
Idea for Impact: Delaying a critical task hardly makes it easier. When tempted to procrastinate, first catch yourself making an excuse. Don’t let the little necessary tasks trivialize the more substantive work.