The dictionary tells us that ‘procrastinate’ means to keep delaying something that must be done because the task seems unpleasant or boring. Does this sound familiar to you? Are you a chronic ‘Avoider’? Don’t worry – you’re not alone!

Many of us find it difficult to get round to those essential ‘admin’ tasks because we’re stressed and short of time, or because we simply don’t have the energy or patience to stand in queues, make appointments or fill out forms.

But procrastinating is never a solution, because vital life-maintenance tasks tend to pile up – and knowing you’ve neglected these responsibilities can lead to unnecessary anxiety and guilt. So if you haven’t made that important doctor’s appointment, or renewed your car licence, or filled in your tax return, read our smart tips for springing into action and getting things done.

1) Make a list, and prioritise it
Start by listing everything that needs to be done, no matter how insignificant.

Now highlight the most urgent and important tasks. We suggest you prioritise the following four items:

  • Anything connected to your health, or your family’s health, such as medical and dental appointments. Aches, pains, swellings, bumps and other worrying symptoms should never be ignored.
  • Matters relating to your kids. The needs of your children must take priority over other less important issues. If you’ve been putting off meeting with your little one’s teacher, for example, or taking her for vaccinations, now’s the time to make things happen!
  • Money issues. When bills pile up, or you find yourself getting into debt, it’s really important to take stock of your financial affairs, because the longer you ignore these problems, the worse they are likely to become.
  • Any issue that may have unpleasant consequences if it isn’t addressed soon, such as outstanding traffic fines, lapsed insurance policies, or expired passports and similar personal documentation.

Next to each item in the ‘Top Four’,write down the date you’re planning to resolve it, and stick to your deadlines! Less vital tasks – such as returning library books – can ‘sink’ to the bottom of your list, but make sure you complete them when you find the time.

2) Set aside special time for ‘admin’
Make an effort to set aside an hour or more every week just for the purpose of sorting out all those annoying chores. Mark this time off in your diary or calendar – and make sure you ‘arrive’ for this important meeting with yourself!  A lot can be accomplished in just 15 to 20 minutes every morning or evening.

3) Delegate
If you feel overwhelmed and simply don’t have the time to follow up on urgent issues, delegate some of these tasks!  Ask your partner, a family member or a willing friend to share some of the load, or pay a third-party agency, such a passport or queuing service, to get the job done.

4) Use technology!
A smart way to tackle tiresome tasks is to use the technology at your fingertips to create notes, lists and reminders. Here’s a list of really clever free websites and apps that will help you keep track of ‘admin’ on your cellphone, tablet or PC.

5) Get motivated
If you’re still struggling to set goals and deadlines, and to stick to them, you can turn to the Internet for expert guidance and motivation.  Here are some resources you may find useful if you’re a professional ‘Avoider’.

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