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Put off by Procrastination?

by Sherri Gerek on 04/30/18

Most everyone procrastinates from time to time and for a variety of reasons.  While some people wish to avoid difficult tasks, or those they dislike, others dawdle with routine issues.  Another procrastinator may have a tendency to get hung up on perfection, and because they don’t feel prepared to tackle the work perfectly, they put it off.  People cite many reasons for procrastination, but peeling back the layers commonly reveals fear of failure as the root cause. Interesting, right?

Procrastination is evidence of our ongoing struggle with self-discipline.  It is only by flexing our self-discipline muscle, and holding ourselves accountable to stand up in the face of fear of failure that we can overcome this habit.

If you find a long list of “to do” items are regularly weighing on you, procrastination is costing you peace of mind.  As in the words of William James, “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”  Putting something off does not negate the fact that sooner or later it must be dealt with.  Meanwhile the incomplete task drains us of valuable energy that is better used to carry out the day without adding stress.

Although many procrastinators contend that they work better under pressure, more often than not this is an excuse to rationalize the behavior. The truth is - procrastinators are always playing catch-up, feeling pushed, or squeezed to meet deadlines.  Generally not a good formula for success, and over the long haul working in this way often leads to burnout. 

The good news?  The procrastination habit can be transformed.  Like any other habit you find is no longer serving you, when combining the desire to change with the consistent actions required to change – you will!

Here are a few tips to blast procrastination out of your life:

·         First and foremost - use self-discipline to hold yourself accountable.  Be aware of your tendency to postpone, and call yourself on it.  Oh no you don’t – no slacking on my watch! 

·         Take action, and feel your self-confidence build as you grasp the reins of your life firmly in your hands rather than allowing procrastination to lead you somewhere you don’t want to be.

·         Consider journaling when you catch yourself wanting to procrastinate.  What is the common thread?  With the answer, you can take action to counter the behavior.

·         Tackle those items FIRST that you tend to procrastinate.  Once the dreaded task is behind you, everything else will seem easier.  Close your eyes, plug your nose, and jump in!

·         Create a new habit to replace the old habit of “procrastinating.”  What positive habit would move you forward to replace that which was holding you back?

·         Internalize this simple procrastination-proof mantra, and apply to your life:  Do what you need to do, when you need to do it. 

·         Reward yourself for the positive changes you make.  Choose a reward that supports your overall goal to eliminate procrastination. 

Now you hold the key to overcome procrastination.  There is no time like now to get started! 

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