Part of the What if? series by Kim Moistner-Bartlet
Inspiration and information for the Residence Life professional
I confess. At times, I procrastinate. I credit my college experience for the continuation of this sometimes stressful habit. College was awesome for me – an extrovert who loved to socialize. There were so many wonderful “distractions” to keep me occupied. Of course I eventually had to face the fact that I had an upcoming exam or major paper to write. Perhaps this scenario will bring back memories for my fellow procrastinators: It’s the night before a big exam. You haven’t read any of the associated textbook chapters nor reviewed your notes. You begin studying at 10:00 p.m. vowing not to sleep until you feel completely prepared. You load up on caffeine, pull an “all-nighter” and promise yourself that you will never do this again.
Sound familiar? I recall many sleepless nights like this during my college career as a result of procrastination. So why did this habit persist? It produced success. I’d earn an “A” on the exam or receive the highest grade in the class accompanied by praise from my professor for my outstanding research paper. (The research paper that I was given all semester to work on; started 48 hours before the due date; and went without sleep for two days to complete.) Over time my procrastination habit has greatly declined. As my life has evolved, so has the manner in which I pursue a deadline. But I must confess that I do enjoy the stress and pressure associated with the last minute grind to meet a pending deadline. I find that it is during these times that I am most creative. Just like those sleepless nights in college, I am more focused and committed to achieving a goal because there is less time for distractions.
So why am I confessing my procrastination habit? As I write this, it is the beginning of a new year. Lots of resolutions and new goals have been established. But how many of us successfully accomplish these long term goals? From conversations I have with others… not many. Perhaps we just get caught up in the details of life and our resolutions and goals fall to the wayside. Or, perhaps the year long timeline is just too lengthy. Maybe all we need to do is abbreviate our self-imposed deadlines. If you’re like me, though you may have a year to accomplish a goal, you probably don’t commit the entire year to working on it. So why stretch it out? Rather than setting yearly goals why not set monthly goals? Commit to making change in your life one month at a time. These “mini goals” always appeal to the procrastinator in me because they create a bit more pressure than an annual goal. A one month goal gives me a mere 30 or 31 days (a few less in February!) to accomplish something. It feels more immediate, keeping me focused and less likely to give in to distractions. It puts me in that “it’s now or never” procrastination mode. Best part? I am far more successful in achieving mini, monthly goals than a grandiose annual resolution.
It’s time to finish up old projects and tackle some new ones. It’s time to pursue your dreams. Keep your goals lofty, but your timelines limited. Put yourself in “procrastination mode” and put a little pressure on yourself to accomplish one goal each month. Come year’s end, I’ll bet you’ll have achieved far more of your mini goals than if you had tried to accomplish one big, gigantic goal. What if you established just one monthly goal today? In a few days, the month will have passed. And, with a little effort and commitment on your part, you’ll be feeling great about achieving that goal. Think big. Take small steps. Success is a few mini-goals away!
Kim Moistner-Bartlett – Big Idea Enthusiast & Kimembee Founder
Kim Moistner-Bartlett blended her experiences in business and higher education administration to create Kimembee, a leadership development company. Kim has held positions in First Year Programs and Residence Life at a number of institutions including The University of Southern Mississippi, Temple University, Philadelphia University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has received awards for her innovative presentations, most notably in the area of customer service within higher education. Kim received her Masters Degree from Ball State University and her Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.