“I’ve done this project before in 3 hours, I can do it again. I don’t need to start right now.”
Have you ever had a similar sort of conversation to yourself? I’m sure you have. It’s natural, though. Why do something right now when you can do it later? Certainly, I have missed quite a few deadlines in the past due to this as well. Procrastination is silent, but oh, is it deadly!
Well, at least you know that you are actually procrastinating when you are. The thing is, for some reason, even when things are incredibly easy, we tend to procrastinate. However, from experience, this will often be our downfall. Just because we have done something in the past before with finesse doesn’t mean that it will happen once again in the exact same way.
I once had this notion where the fastest I could write an essay on an A4 sheet of paper was 20 minutes, so I decided to allot myself 3 hours to write the last 9 pages of my thesis report. I planned to start at around lunch time the day before, but I had procrastinated so much that I was only able to get things started at around 10pm.
Needless to say, I was up until 4 am. It was a completely unsatisfactory paper that was written in a hurry as I was trying to get some sleep, and even as I handed it in the next day, I had felt defeat.
I have since then learned that things are never going to be as easy as you think they will be – and whenever they are in fact easy, it will be unexpected. Of course, now, no matter how easy something gets, I try to get it done in advance, with some leeway of time. It is always better to get things done early than to not get them done at all – or worse, get them only half-done.
BONUS Tip: Apply the double rule. Whenever you need to allot time to get something done, estimate how long it normally takes you on average (not on your best time), and times that by two. It doesn’t mean that you are going to need that amount of time to get it done, but in case something falls through or in case of unexpected circumstances, you will be safe.