Reducing Delay and Rumination

Let’s think about delay and it’s cousin rumination. How do you delay what you need to do? What type of processes or tasks make you start to mentally ruminate?

Mental rumination is defined as contemplation or reflection, which may become persistent and recurrent worrying or brooding. It is not really a productive use of one’s time. Knowing that is helpful, but stopping the activity before it consumes you and your time is equally valuable.  To start reducing delay and rumination, try these techniques:

Compile a List of the Delay and Rumination  Physical Tasks You Choose

Make a list of the activities you have a tendency to do instead of doing your unlikable activities. I know when I am delaying, the tasks that usually seem tiresome or unlikable are likely to come across my mind as a pleasant task or opportunity. For instance, in the home front, cleaning the filters over the stove or wiping out the interior of lighting fixtures seem a good idea. At work,it might be moving my computer desktop files to the correct folder.

Identify the Mental Daydreams You Focus On

Sometimes we may choose to sit and daydream instead of working on our projects or assignments. If you have some places you tend to” space out” too, make a list and be more aware that you are visiting that “place” again.

Identify Your Usual Activities

Having a mental list of your “unlikable activities” may help you be more conscious of your tendency to procrastinate and delay. For me, my “unlikable activities” are filling out multi-page forms which involve collecting number data from more than 10 sources.  I also dislike getting stuck on a technical software process, when I can’t find the answer within 10 minutes. Knowing and understanding your vulnerability of  “unlikable activities” will help you develop strategies for getting things done, providing you are “thinking” about it.

Brainstorm with A  Coach

A coach can help you become accountable on tasks you tend to ruminate and procrastinate about. Consider this option as a way to move forward, especially on large or complex projects or assignments.


Delay and rumination are costly to your productivity. Use the techniques above to reduce your propensity to  procrastinate.

1 Comment

Filed under Client Management Strategies, Communication Strategies, Goal Setting, Knowledge, Productivity, Terms, Thinking

One response to “Reducing Delay and Rumination

  1. Fred

    Terry has identified a tremendous problem. My trigger is when I feel like I’m being forced to do something “the boss’ way” with little latitude to do it “my way”. Then I start fantasizing about a car I can’t afford and couldn’t get anyway since my wife controls the finances, or do mundane tasks such as Terry described like delete e-mails, etc. Attempting the undesirable task almost becomes a fear, so I repeat to myself, “The Lord is my strength and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid?” Somehow by getting started on the first steps and figuring how fiercely how I can do “my way” anyway, I can get it done.

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