Comstock's magazine 0219 - February 2019 - Page 40

n productivity ou’ve heard it be- fore, or maybe you’ve said it yourself: I work better under pressure. It helps me focus. This is the mantra of the chronic pro- crastinator. We’re adrenaline Study after study has analyzed the im- pact of procrastination, and the results are never good: It’s linked with higher levels of stress, poor job performance, lower mental health, cardiovascular disease and smaller paychecks. And we’re all guilty, says McLaren. “The amount of people who put things off and who don’t stay on top of things — that’s every- one,” says McLaren. “It’s you and me.” (She’s more right than she knows. For almost a year, I’ve been putting off starting a book simply because I lack a hard deadline. We’ll get back to this point … when I get around to it.) junkies who think that our late- game heroics are an essential Why We ingredient to our success. But Procrastinate we’re probably wrong. “Procrastinators become addicted to that feeling of urgency — the adrenaline rush,” says Cami McLaren, a Sacramento-based ex- ecutive coach. She says the chemical element of the adrenaline means the addiction is in- deed real. She estimates that 40 percent of her clients tell her that they frequently procrasti- nate and prefer to live in a state of urgency. “That’s bunk,” she says. Imagine the work you could do if it isn’t urgent. “If you live in urgency, it’s exhausting and there’s a lot of burnout.” Put simply: When we procrastinate, we’re not doing our best work, and we’re prob- ably spending our time on things that aren’t important. 40 comstocksmag.com | February 2019 The nature of procrastination may be best un- derstood through the framework of the Eisen- hower Matrix, popularized through Stephen Covey’s 1989 best seller “The 7 Habits of High- ly Effective People.” Covey’s matrix refers to a two-by-two grid that splits the world into Important and Not Important, Urgent and Not Urgent. “Highly effective” people spend the bulk of their time in Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent. Procrastinators? We chumps are toiling away in the Urgent quadrants, driven by the crack of a deadline’s whip. We usually delay a task because it feels overwhelming. The task feels too big or too scary. “People experience work in chunks. And if your chunk size is too big, you avoid