…a bad Habit ! But you can BRAKE it, look…
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness; no laziness; no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
There are many factors that contribute to success. But there is one that is absolutely essential, and that’s the ability to get things done.
Sure, there are folks who have done absolutely nothing in life and have plenty of money. But that money has to come from an inheritance or some other source over which they have little or no control. It’s not fair or accurate to call these people successful – after all, money alone does not equal success. Lucky would be a better description.
If you don’t come from a long line of wealth, you’ll have to put forth some effort in order to obtain it. This is not a hard concept to understand, but it’s often a hard one to implement. That’s because so many of us are prone to procrastination.
According to the Random House Dictionary, procrastinate means “to defer action.” By this definition, everyone procrastinates sometimes. There are times when unexpected things occur and we have to make adjustments to our schedules. That’s life. But frequent procrastinators tend to put things off without a legitimate reason. They make excuses.
Procrastination can easily become a habit. At first, it may not have any noticeable consequences. So the next time a similar situation arises, we delay action again. Before long, we’re procrastinating without even realizing what we’re doing. And we wonder why we aren’t making any progress!
Those who procrastinate habitually suffer from undue stress and missed opportunities. So why do they do it? There are several possible reasons. Some people have an aversion to routines and schedules. Certain tasks might seem difficult or boring, and we might want to put them off in favor of something easier or more exciting. Or perhaps they doubt their own abilities and want to delay their predicted failure as long as possible.
Breaking the Procrastination Habit
“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.”
George Claude Lorimer
To quit procrastinating is easier said than done. But if you are to get ahead in life, it is imperative that you do so. No putting it off until tomorrow, either.
To get started, you must determine your reasons for procrastinating. If a deep-seated fear of failure or feeling of inadequacy is behind it, that must be addressed before you can move forward. In some cases, counseling may be required. It might be slow going, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you can put it behind you.
Once you’ve broken through any psychological barriers, banishing procrastination will be possible. But old habits die hard, so it will take some conscious effort on your part. Here are some actions you can take to curb your procrastination tendencies:
• Take care of the most difficult item on your to-do list first. That way, you won’t have to spend your entire day dreading it. And once you’ve completed it, you’ll feel relieved and have plenty of confidence to carry through the rest of the day’s activities.
• Break large projects up into smaller portions. Then set a realistic deadline for each portion. This will make the project less intimidating, make it easier to hold yourself accountable, and help you recognize when you’re falling behind before it’s too late.
• If you’re having a hard time with a certain aspect of a project, move on to another if possible. This will often help you work more efficiently. For example, if you’re writing a white paper and have trouble with the introduction, save it for last. Once you’ve completed the body of the paper, finding the words to introduce its contents will be much easier.
• Get rid of distractions. For those who have trouble concentrating, ringing phones, blaring radios and interruptions from others can be so frustrating that they feel that they have no choice but to postpone what they’re doing. But many of these distractions can be eliminated, providing an environment more conducive to productivity.
• Reward yourself for getting things done. Knowing that something enjoyable is waiting for you makes even the most unpleasant task more tolerable.
When it comes to beating procrastination, having the right mindset is also extremely important. Here are a few things to remember when you feel like putting something off:
• Don’t overthink things. Planning is good, but if you plan too much, you use up time that could be better spent taking action. So instead of creating a blueprint for every minute detail, jump in and get started. You can always make changes later if needed.
• Be decisive. Many people procrastinate because they fear making the wrong decision. But often, the wrong decision is better than no decision at all. Weigh the pros and cons, and get input from other parties if needed, but don’t put making a decision off any longer than necessary.
• Don’t leave projects up in the air. Sometimes we get halfway through something and realize that it’s not what we thought it should be. But putting it off until “later” is rarely a good idea. Keep working on it, or scrap it if there appears to be little hope for it. Having unfinished business hanging over your head breeds more procrastination.
• Keep anxiety at bay. If you’re feeling on edge, it’s harder to make yourself get things done. Yoga, meditation, or affirmations can often help get you back on track.
Make Procrastination a Thing of the Past
“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.”
When we procrastinate, we put our success on hold. Whether it’s perfectionism or apathy that’s holding you back, breaking through it is the only way to keep yourself moving in the right direction. Procrastination may be an everyday thing for many people, but it’s not a problem for those who are getting what they want out of life. To which group would you rather belong?