Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

3 Ways To Stop Procrastinating

Lawyers Insurance North CarolinaProcrastination is something I know a lot about.

In fact, I’ve been meaning to write a post on the subject but keep putting it off.

No longer. A new year has arrived – a fact I just recently discovered – and with it comes a fresh resolve to be always on time, always on point, and always on top of things.

But first I need to check Facebook. Followed by a few hours of looking at precious pet YouTube videos posted by complete strangers. After that – a quick nap.

I know, I know. This is not good.

But perhaps you can relate. It seems some of us are hard-wired to put off until tomorrow – or better yet, next month – what should be done today. Right. This. Minute.

But there is a serious downside to procrastination. It can lead to blown deadlines, malpractice, angry clients and disbarment. These are not fun things to think about, much less have to actually go through.

In fact, the possibility of an unhappy outcome – or a happy one, for that matter – can freeze us into a state of paralysis where we sit slack-jawed and frozen, watching endless reruns of Mayberry RFD as the clock ticks on that urgent assignment.

So it was with great relief that I happened to stumble across not one but three sure-fire techniques for overcoming procrastination:

  • The three-minute rule. This one comes from my friend Riley, who is the most on-top-of-it attorney I know. His secret? If during the course of the day he confronts a task that can be accomplished in three minutes or less, he stops and does it right then and there. That way, his daily to-do list is not always growing longer.
  • Visualization. Alec Borenstein, who writes the blawg Power Practice Attorneys, believes bad habits are our worst enemy. His solution? Imagine yourself doing something you absolutely love. “When you are doing that thing you are excited to do, what are you thinking? What are you feeling? What is your body like? What else is going on?” [E]licit the exact internal and external conditions in that moment, and then move them to the procrastinating moment…. [T]ake what you do, know, and think in your best area and move it to the area for improvement.”
  • Goethe off the couch and get started. “What you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Johann von Goethe

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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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