Overcoming Procrastination

Overcome Inertia and Get the Really Important Things Done


Are you a person who waits until Christmas Eve to do the bulk of your Christmas shopping? Or, when filing your taxes, do you wait until April 12th to start sorting through the shoe boxes filled with receipts? If so, you are not alone.

Procrastination is the continual avoidance of starting or seeing a task through to completion. It is one of the most common stumbling blocks to managing time. Straightening the desk, reading the mail, cleaning the house, washing the car, etc., are all tasks that have to be done.

But, if by doing any of those tasks you avoid doing the A-number-one-top priorities, like filing your taxes, making follow-up phone calls, implementing a new marketing program, or tackling a complicated project, you are procrastinating.

To combat the tendency to"put things off" start by looking at the underlying causes of delay.

1. Inability to say "No": How often have you said yes to demands on your time before evaluating your desire or ability to fulfill them? When you over commit yourself you can be forced to delay because you are in fact unable to find the time. It is often difficult to say "no" to a request particularly if the person asking is in need.

2. Fear: The root cause of most avoidance is fear -- and there are many kinds. Fear of failure, success, rejection, anger, embarrassment or any negative emotion. If you are asked to make a speech and the thought of standing before an audience is terrifying, what happens? Do you wonder what is going on in their collective minds? Do you worry that they will not like, approve, or agree with what you have to say? And the worst-case: What if they ask a question that you cannot answer? This process of anticipation and worry about a worst case scenario can escalate the fear until it becomes unmanageable.

3. An Unpleasant Task: Very few of us are eager to do something that is distasteful. The longer you avoid it, the more seeming freedom and control you have. The longer you wait the better the chance that it will go away or someone else will do it. As soon as you procrastinate the sooner you get an immediate reward -- in this case, not having to start the unpleasant task.- a project deadline at 3pm today
- driving to your daughter?s dance recital by 6pm




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