“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill
“Procrastination is the fear of success (or failure). People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy and carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ’someday I’ll’ philosophy.” – Denis Waitley
Procrastination is: to put off intentionally and habitually the completion of a task or something that should be done.
Warning: Top 10 Signs You Procrastinate and Tips to Help You take Massive Action. Read this Now!
From time to time, most of us put off doing tasks that seem challenging or boring. We avoid certain chores because they trigger emotions in us that raise questions and fears about how we handle failure/success. For some people, depression or other traumatic, life shifting events can trigger a malaise that leads to a pattern of procrastination and the counsel of a medical professional is highly recommended.
For the rest of us, procrastination means we make excuses, we feign illness, we develop amnesia, we scramble/delegate at the last minute, or we simply abandon ship and head for the shore. Procrastination does not have to become a debilitating condition; however, the difference between an occasional avoidance tactic and a chronic pattern of procrastination comes down to how often our tasks are completed or compromised.
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth — Not going all the way, and not starting.” – Gautama Buddha
“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.” – Grace Hansen
Procrastination, like achievement, is a mindset, a habit, a pattern of behaviors that can support or negate our efforts to accomplish our goals and dreams. As we set goals, ask questions about the road to success, and visualize our dreams, we must be equally vigilant in developing skills and habits that help us overcome the tendency to abuse our time and settle for less than our best. You can master your tendencies and overcome the seeds of procrastination.
If you find yourself constantly putting things off without a legitimate, urgent reason, you might be the ideal candidate for a procrastination checkup and the following signs and tips below will help you address the problem, kick the habit to the curb and reclaim your motivation and spirit.
“It is in the small decisions you and I make every day that create our destiny.” – Anthony Robbins
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no delay, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Lord Chesterfield
Lack of Commitment and Avoidance Tactics: Do you constantly put off setting a date to start writing your blog, learning a new language, starting an exercise program or even finishing your assignments? Do you over-schedule your day and then run yourself ragged? Do you avoid tasks for fear you might get overwhelmed?
TIPS: What are you afraid of? Start now, start small. Start with focusing on completing one task in the here and now. Don’t focus on the applause or outcomes but on your commitment to completion. Acknowledge the reasons for avoiding the tasks and then do them. If you don’t know where to start and find that your priorities are out of order, revisit your vision of success and don’t ignore the value of taking time for self-reflection. Reflect and then get back on track.
Lack of Passion/Energy or the Will to Change: Do you find your passion and energy dissipating as the project deadline approaches on a task? Do you find your willpower waning because the CEO made changes to your original plans for the project?
TIPS: What got you excited in the first place? Reflect back to the original enthusiasm you had for the project and how you can still contribute without getting too emotionally invested in the outcome or dynamics of other personalities. Change can be scary but if you recognize that you can work in small increments, it won’t be so daunting. Consult with other members of your team, including your boss, to get a clearer sense of their objectives and how they align with yours.
“The key to happiness is having dreams; the key to success is making them come true.” James L. Allen
“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Poor Time Management: Do you struggle to maintain control over your meeting time and deadlines? Do you frequently ask for production line/writing assignment extensions and push back deadlines?
TIPS: Even if you thrive in a pressure filled environment, it is important to gain some perspective on the use and abuse of time. Setting realistic deadlines is imperative, and creating a system of checks and balances that can help you monitor how much time you need to complete assignments will be helpful. If you write, try a tip on writing an article/blog fast; in 20 minutes via Copyblogger. Maintain a rigorous Outlook calendar and use it regularly. Reset a clock, give yourself earlier due dates, have a team of buddies to work with you on timelines and minimize requests for deadline changes. If you always wait to the last minute and have your priorities mixed up then you need to reevaluate your habits.
Negative Attitude vs. Positive: Do you use other people’s behavior as an excuse for not performing your tasks? Did the service start late because the waiters were unprepared or because you forgot to rehearse them? Do you blame the customers/clients for the deal that went south?
TIPS: Procrastination has a tremendous impact on our approach to situations and delaying the need to correct a problem will contribute to a negative attitude and outcome. Don’t put off addressing delicate or difficult issues that must be handled immediately. When an error or oversight occurs, address it, apologize and take swift action to correct it and move forward. Lingering on the negative increases the chance of inaction and subsequent customer dissatisfaction.
“My evil genius, Procrastination, has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.” Mary Todd Lincoln
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammad Ali
The Perfectionism Factor: Do you start and stop a creative project because your imaginary muse is on vacation? Do you dwell on the minutiae rather than the major aspects of a problem? Do you put off paying bills and scheduling holidays till the last due date?
TIPS: The perfect time to start anything is NOW. The difference between those who become successful and the rest of us is that the successful press on and stick to their goals/dreams through success and failure. To wait for the best time or ideal moment is to kiss the moon while holding onto the notion that the sun will shine at midnight. It is unrealistic to compose your memoir fully in your head but never write it down because the final chapter hasn’t happened. Take a moment to think about the absurdity of expecting perfectionism in an imperfect world. Start where you are and edit as you go along. Even the best writers have editors.
The Fear of Failure: Do you stop yourself from pursuing your heartfelt dreams because you fear to fail? Do you refuse to volunteer for bigger roles or complex assignments? Do you imagine the world will treat you with derision if you make a mistake or fail at something? Do you discourage yourself from seizing opportunities because you think you’re not good enough?
TIPS: Who is good enough? Even the most successful have faults that frustrate them. Our flaws don’t define us. Imagine your fear as a barrier to your success and that if you push at it daily and try to perform even one action that brings you closer to your goals then you will be on the path to your vision of success. Commit to face a fear by trying something new like a public speaking class or learning to skydive. Volunteer to chair an event or present a project for your team and ask others for support and help. Feed your mind positive affirmations and empowering thoughts to overcome the negative backtalk. You would not want your final moment on earth to be filled with regrets of not knowing if things could have been different. Take one step against fear and the universe will rally to support you.
“Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.” Jim Rohn
“Success is a journey, not a destination.” Ben Sweetland
The Fear of Success: Do you sabotage your good efforts because you fear success? Do you deride your accomplishments and show up unprepared? Do you make excuses for why, with your ability to draw, design, write and sing, you do nothing?
TIPS: You must act in spite of your fears and focus on the immediacy of the job at hand. The key is to not fixate on the potential or future rewards of your actions but on accomplishing the current agenda or duties that need attention. The procrastinator’s biggest nightmare is to fail at something they excel at and so conversely, it means they fear success because they do nothing. We all know a super talented XYZ who, if only they recognized their own genius, would rule the world in their profession or field of study. The procrastinator puts things off with the promise to get back to it soon; and soon gets pushed back again and again. Casting plans aside with the verbal promise to get back to it is an empty promise that cancels the opportunity to venture beyond fear and achieve even a modicum of success. What is required is action; consistent repetitive action.
Delusions of Grandeur and Unrealistic Goals: Do you talk about owning your own billion dollar business and traveling the world yet have no game plan? Do you brag about your brilliant mind, your skill at chess or the violin, your excellence at deconstructing design but never practice or study? Do you day dream about ruling the world but never get out of bed?
TIPS: If you set goals without taking the necessary action to achieve them then those goals become delusional, unrealistic fantasies. The delusion creates a wall you come up against when you think you are trying to start something meaningful. For instance, if you wish to build a billion dollar business you must start somewhere and have a plan. Where is your business plan, your product, and your marketing plan? You will need to reframe your goals, consult with experts voices and act with a sense of purpose; a clear direction of how you plan to initiate the first step to entrepreneurial success.
“If you procrastinate when faced with big difficult problems… break the problem into parts, and handle one part at a time.” Robert Collier
“To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will.” Sugar Ray Robinson
The Issue of Control: Do you use issues around control to create delays in completing an important project? Are you dealing with personal co-dependence/independence issues? Do you complete important assignments late and blame others for it?
TIPS: When you show up “fashionably late” to everything, it is your ego at work not your impeccable taste. When we fail to accommodate other people’s needs and create needless drama to increase our chances of being in control, we have created a manipulative yet unnecessary delay on a project. The cure for this type of behavior is to distribute control across the team(s) so more people are held accountable and feel validated for their role in the assignments. When you feel unprepared, you feel out of control and the domino effect creates havoc and leads to procrastination. Focusing on preparing your tasks early, rehearsing them, and then sharing control will make a great difference in this matter.
Lack of Confidence: Do you feel insecure about your skills and avoid taking charge? Are your self-esteem issues getting in the way of work and goals? Do you worry constantly about what others think of you?
TIPS: We all have times when we feel inadequate and yet, we must remain focused on the work we must do. Our level of confidence grows with our exertion of effort on tasks/assignments. When we apply ourselves and learn new ways to do our job, the frustration that comes from not knowing is reduced and our self-esteem is boosted. Instead of focusing on areas of lack and worrying about what others would say or think, it is important to find areas of strength and build on those areas while we perform our roles/obligations. Also, we can achieve more when we solicit the assistance of others and trust that they can make a difference too.
Don’t despair if you are still struggling with procrastination; make a commitment to tackle the matter with clear and decisive action. Take the first step by acting on even a small request and then keep going… Starting is difficult but once you do, the rest is history. What do you think? How do you manage your tendencies? Do comment and share your thoughts.
Prague Town hall Clock ~ Google Images
Dilbert The Procrastinator ~ Scott Adams
The Boy in a Bookstore ~ Google Images
Hardwork pays ~ Google Images
Traffic at a Standstill ~ Frederic Poirot via Flikr
The Blank Screen ~ Google Images
Procrastinate ~ Google Images
The Existential Fish ~ Google Images via Sangrea.net
Congress via Bennett ~ Christian Science Monitor
Behind the Desk ~ Google Images
Bidding Time ~ via Animal Collective
As Time Passes by ~ Google Images
At the 11th Hour via Kelly ~ Google Images
Completion is King ~ Google Images
- How Not To Procrastinate (alltopstartups.com)
- Stop Procrastination In 4 Easy Steps! & Video (girlfriendsgaloreaz.wordpress.com)
- Today’s Motivation… Six Steps to Avoid Procrastination (philammann.com)
- Anti-procrastination Toolkit: Sessions (gettingbetterman.wordpress.com)
- Procrastination (jeanmorehouse.wordpress.com)