Beat Procrastination, with “Scooping!”

How to handle procrastination with “Scooping!”

One of the most important principles that we talk about in our HOPE (how to Organize, Plan, Prioritise and Execute) Program is called “Scooping!”

Quite simply, as the name suggests, it has a remarkable association to scooping ice cream! Let’s assume that a large task (which might take about 6 hours to complete) is like a large block of “ice cream.” Most people, if they went to a buffet counter and were told that they had to take the entire block of ice cream and eat it then and there would baulk, and suddenly lose their interest to eat the ice cream. However, if they were given the opportunity to take the ice cream home with them, put it in the fridge and consume it 1 or 2 scoops at a time, they would consume the entire block of ice cream over a period of time.

When extended to work to be done, or tasks to be scheduled, it has been found that the ideal time that a person can work without being disturbed, is about 1 hour. So, if anyone wanted to ensure that they set up a schedule that would help them complete the tasks as planned, it would be most needed that they set up a schedule that has only “Scoop time tasks”, i.e., tasks that are estimated to get done in a maximum of 1 hour.

Any activity can be scooped – reading a book can be scooped. Preparing a report can be scooped. Cooking a meal can be scooped. And so on. However, there are tasks that cannot be scooped – especially when the person doing the task does not have complete control over the time. For example, a surgeon cannot scoop a surgical procedure! Why? Because the patient controls the time and the surgeon has to perform the surgery until it is successfully completed. Similarly, while commuting, one will not have any control over the time taken and hence this cannot be scooped. And so on….

Scooping is an important and very useful way to handle “procrastination!”

The most important reason that most people procrastinate is because they quickly do an analysis of the effort involved in doing a task, and the benefit they derive from it. And if the mental calculation implies that the benefit is not commensurate with the effort involved,  the task gets postponed. And in the case of something that MUST be done, with enough procrastination, the pain from NOT doing the thing becomes too much, and then people stop procrastinating, and act!

So, when someone find that they are procrastinating from doing something, they could evaluate if they could scoop the large “block” task down in to its component parts (scoops) of less than 1 hour duration each.

This by itself will help people get over the procrastination. However, if they find that they are procrastinating even to complete the “Scoop” task, maybe they should consider breaking the “Scoop” into “Spoon” tasks! J

Even when eating a scoop of ice cream, we eat it one spoonful at a time. Similarly, if a “Scoop” task is being procrastinated over, maybe it is time to consider breaking the scoop into “Spoon tasks” – tasks that take a maximum of 5-10 minutes at a time! And once the task has been begun, very soon, it tends to get completed!

This, is probably one way of ensuring that anyone who has a problem with procrastination can beat it, and achieve the success and fulfillment that they seek!

We wish everyone a happy, successful, 80/20 life!




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