5 Ways to Kick the Procrastination Habit!
Copyright 2002, Julie Plenty
Do you rush around doing things at the last minute?
How many times have you mentioned something that you
felt that you ought to do and said "yes, I'll get round
to it", but "it" never happens. Procrastination means
to "defer action", but it rarely serves us well, unless
we know what's behind it and what to do about it.
Procrastination isn't only about deciding not to do or to
delay doing something - it also means that we have chosen
to do something else instead. So, it's watching TV instead
of having a relaxing swim. It's going out to lunch with a
friend when there's a report to be completed. Habitually
making choices which don't serve us well will continually
create challenges and drama in our lives.
Procrastination causes stress. Yes, most of us have too
much on our plates, but leaving things until they really
have to be done just ensures that we put even more
pressure on ourselves.
Delaying things take time and energy - because when you
know that something needs to be done and you're not doing
it - it stays in the back of your mind and silently drains
Procrastination is only a habit and habits can be changed.
The first thing to ask yourself is whether procrastination
is a sign that you need to change something fundamental in
your life (ie job, environment, relationships) or if it's
masking fear, lack of self-confidence, self-esteem etc
There are a number of ways to tackle procrastination and
you can use different strategies for different situations.
May of live a "have to", rather than a "want to" life. Our
lives are full of obligations and things that we don't really
want to do. But with some creative and imaginative thinking
we can convert the "have tos" into the "want tos". How can
we do this? By thinking beyond the immediate task and
focusing on the wider benefits of completion.
For instance, if you don't want to do the books or open
your bank statements, you can try asking yourself what are
the benefits of greater financial control.
Will you have much more money in the long run as you learn
to save, spend and invest it wisely? How much freer will
you feel now that you've taken back control and your energy
isn't being drained by the nagging, insistent worry that you
ought to be doing something about it - because you already
By which I mean do the thing you least want to do when you
have the most energy to do it. You can always find the energy
to do things that you enjoy doing, but you need your energy
level to be highest when tackling things which you don't
care for. So, if you're at your best in the morning - then
tackle the administration then, clear out your clutter and
vice versa if you're an afternoon or evening person.
We have things that we're good at and things that we prefer
to do. Ask yourself: (i) does it have to be done at all?
(ii) does it have to be done by you? Is there someone else
who could do the job? You may decide that you don't want
to concentrate your energies on bookkeeping, but you can
hire a bookkeeper to free you from this. Or someone else at
work may like administration; ask for their - or more -
4. Do it in pieces
The difficulty with procrastination is that the task may
seem overwhelming because it has been avoided for so long.
It has grown in size and taken on a life of its own! Bring
it back down to earth and start tackling it in bite sized
pieces (when you're at your best! - see no 2)
5. Develop a system
Procrastination takes up time and energy. You may always
find yourself on the defensive as things catch up with you.
Developing a system means that you nip procrastination in
If you want to take more exercise, then exercise with a
buddy, hire a personal trainer (either at your house or
the gym). Join a walking club, sports club - somewhere
where you are committed to being and encourage others to
commit with you. Set up structures which ensure that
procrastination doesn't get the chance to put its feet
under your table.
And remember to reward yourself when you've broken
through and achieved something.
Dealing with procrastination is one way of taking back
control of your life and the ultimate reward is having
more time to really enjoy your life.
©2003 by Julie Plenty
Julie Plenty is a Personal and Business Coach who suffered
from low self-esteem for years. She developed tips and techniques
to raise her own self-esteem and turn her life around and now
wants to help others do the same. For more tips visit:
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