Have you heard this cliché: never put off until tomorrow what you can do today? This can be your greatest sin at work or at home. Don’t be like US humorist Mark Twain who said, “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do day after tomorrow.” Procrastination is the enemy of performance. Believe me your boss will notice, your friends will smirk, your wife will complain. It is an endless downward spiral.
You can’t achieve a balanced life if you don’t take things seriously enough to act on them. “Oh, it can wait,” means you don’t care and it will be done by someone else, if at all. There are cases that can wait, things that are insignificant and trivial. You don’t even put them on your mental list!
What is your worst type of procrastination?
Chores at home
Reports at work
Favors for others
Taking vacations with the family
Learning a new sport, hobby, pastime for your husband or wife
This becomes a roster of what you hate and it may come as a big surprise. No wonder you keep trying to schedule something and it just doesn’t happen. You don’t want it to. Unless it is a requirement you can’t skirt, let it go and center yourself on other, better tasks. You don’t procrastinate about activities you love, that are fun, and bring accolades and enjoyment. On the other hand, if it is a must to keep your job, you may be in the wrong career.
Are you an escape artist? Procrastination is a form of self-sabotage and is guaranteed to wreak havoc in your life. It is a destructive form of behavior or habit that happily can be modified. Telling yourself you don’t have enough time so why bother is deadly. Thinking too much delays taking action. You can program yourself to change your patterns. There arose a revolutionary therapy in the 1960’s called “psycho-cybernetics.” With this self-help method, you literally spend time contemplating a topic or problem. It is a cognitive behavior technique in which the practitioner visualizes or imagines a positive outcome. Self-perception is a target for change. You will understand success before you even start. It is a form of self-affirmation that targets personal goals and aspirations and erases erroneous beliefs. The still popular concept is available on line and worth a look for anyone seeking self-improvement and a way to heal the “inner scars” of life.
Distractions such as social media, the Internet, emails, and the like feed procrastination and make it grow. How much time do you spend per day putting off work by attending to what you may think are necessities. You will be surprised just how much! You don’t have to answer the phone just because it is ringing. All in all, recognition the myriad of ways you can procrastinate will be an eye-opener and a habit changer.
Tip: Stop interviewing for your job. It's a subtle form of procrastination and a bona fide time waster. You have the job so do it or quit and undertake your true passion. Contemplating constantly where else you could be, while a type of day dreaming, can lead to just that: getting fired. Accept the reality of the status quo and work on getting ahead. You can do the same in any job. You may want a different one, but while you are there, apply yourself and get to work. Daydreaming about what could be will destroy what is.
Tip: When procrastination works. Putting something that is unimportant to make room for more urgent needs is not only wise but mandatory. If it won’t kill someone in your family to miss a home-cooked meal or a fresh laundry, forget it! If it won’t kill a co-worker to wait until after lunch to proof read a project, forget it! Everything has a time and place and you determine just when.
So true, Carol. As someone victimized by the vicious cycle of procrastination, it's so easy to let important tasks fall by the wayside only to have more tasks accumulate, especially in this age of distractions with social media and other technologies that take time away from your personal life. The best way I've found to beat procrastination is to make schedules and lists to keep myself focused on what really matters.