Some people can zip from one task to another with the efficiency of the Japanese subway system: fast, streamlined, and never a minute late. Others tend to linger. Sometimes that’s good. Our bodies need time to rest, and our soul need moments to savor —whether it’s a delicious meal or a magical bonding moment with your child.
But dawdling too much or even inappropriately can seriously mess up our careers and a whole lot more. Here are some ways to get us moving.
The difference between dawdlers and procrastinators
The behavior seems the same (both run late!) but the motivations are different. Dawdlers are reluctant to stop doing task # 1. Procrastinators don’t want to start the task # 2. Dawdlers are driven by pleasure. Procrastinators are driven by dread. Sometimes the motivations intersect, but the problem is that dawdlers are often wondering why everyone else is so upset. ‘But I LIKE what I’m doing.’ (Read
8 tips on how to stop procrastinating…now!)
Dawdling with a deadline
That may seem contradictory, but it’s not: it’s looking at how much time you have, and then figuring out how to handle the other tasks so you can enjoy the activity that gives you the most pleasure.
Let’s say that you enjoy looking at your cabinet, picking out what you will wear today to work. That’s fine, in itself. The problem is when you also dawdle over breakfast, in the shower… Choose where to dawdle, and rush the others that make no difference to you.
Be realistic about the time you have
Dawdlers often underestimate the time it takes to get things done. For example, while getting ready for work, we forget the time it may take to get a cab, navigate the traffic, or look for a parking space. Writing down all the steps from Point A and Point B can help us to stay on track.
Make an exit plan
Dawdlers have a tendency to stretch things out. They talk too much at meetings, linger too long at an impromptu conversation with a co-worker. We know we need to stop and say goodbye, but we don’t know how.
One way to avoid that is to prepare a script that we can recite from memory so we can automatically end something and move on. For example, your line for parties may be: ‘I need to go, but I’ll call you next week okay?’ Or, announce at the start of a meeting (especially if you are with other dawdlers) that you have another appointment at X time. Then hold yourself to that. ‘Wow, it’s 1:45. I only have a few minutes left before that phone appointment. This was fun, but I got to go! Thanks!’
Set up multiple reminders
Checklists and planners aren’t enough. Set your phone alarm. Ask a co-worker to remind you, or call you if you are running late.
Prepare for the ending
Learn the art of wrapping things up. For example, at a meeting, you can summarize the discussion and repeat the action points. Or, at a lunch, you can start dropping hints like, ‘Wow, time really flies when I talk to you. Wish I didn’t have to go soon, but we’ll do this more frequently.’ Then get the check. And don’t derail yourself by introducing a new idea or anecote that will restart the conversation. You’re winding things down, remember?
Photo from techviva.com