Simply put procrastination is putting something off till later. It’s deciding not to do something at that given moment. Overtime people begin to procrastinate out of habit.
It’s interesting to note the origin of the word. It comes from the Latin words pro and cras, which can be translated as “Belong to Tomorrow“.
There are several reasons why people procrastinate. It could be fear of failure or success; lack of knowledge, time or resources; or we simply just don’t want to do it.
Don’t fool yourself that important things can be put off till tomorrow;
they can be put off forever, or not at all.
Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
The Rationale Behind Our Procrastination …
* Difficult – We perceive it as difficult – such as losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising, or that major project …
* Overwhelming – We are overwhelmed – This is usually because of either the mental or physical clutter around the task. We think it’s going to take forever to complete.
* Boring – Yawnnn. We are not interested in doing it. We don’t’ want to do it. This could be menial tasks such as filing, housecleaning, maintenance on a vehicle, feeding the dog
I only mention feeding the dog, because when my son was about 6 or 7 he thought feeding the dogs was so boring. We’d send him outside to feed the dogs – he’d be gone for an hour, come back in the house, we’d ask “Did you feed the dogs?” He’d say “Ooops, I forgot.”
* Complex – The task is long term and has a lot of steps, such as a long complicated project like writing a book, building a house, building a business. You may begin this task with good intentions, but you soon lose focus, tire and give up – you’re putting it off, Why?
* Indecision – we just can’t make up our mind what we want to do. This can be good and bad – my husband likes to research all of the pros and cons before he makes a decision.
* Perfectionism – We put it off until we can do it perfectly. It’s time to stop trying to be perfect. Once you do, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish! This used to be me …
I remember one Christmas when I was 6 years old that I had to sweep the floor for over an hour till it met my dad’s approval. Another time I vacuumed the living room for 3 solid hours under my dad’s critical eye. This gave me some weird cleaning quirks. My family calls it Cindy Clean. When I first got married, my house was either filthy or spotless, because I wouldn’t clean it unless I knew I had the time to do it perfectly. (Thank God, I’ve grown a lot since then!)
If you procrastinate it doesn’t mean you lazy, undisciplined, or irresponsible. Don’t let negative self talk get you down. If you’re in the habit of procrastinating You can Learn “How to Stop Procrastination” with this course written by one of the worlds leading experts.
12 Steps to Stop Procrastination
1. Get Organized – If you’re living with clutter get rid of it! It’s easy to let things pile up in today’s hectic world. For some quite tips on organization check out The Definitive Guide to Home Organization for Busy People written by one of the worlds leading experts.
2. Keep All Your Projects and Goals in One Place – You need to have a notebook or file on your computer where you keep these in. Make it something simple that you will and can refer to. List all your goals and projects i.e.: Lose 20 pounds, Remodel bathroom, write business plan, clean out your junk drawer or junk room.
3. Prioritize – Now that you have ALL your projects in one place, you need to prioritize them. What’s the most important thing for you to do first, second etc. While prioritizing you may want to keep in mind how long the task might take. If something is going to take one day, you may want to place that above and item that will take a month.
4. Schedule Blocks of Time to Work – this must be a time that you can focus 100% on the task at hand.
5. Know Your Desired Outcome – What is your objective? What are you trying to achieve? How will it benefit you? What will it look/feel/taste like?
6. Be Realistic – Any goal you set for yourself needs to be realistic. If you don’t believe it can be done, then you’ll not be able to do it – because your subconscious will not allow you to.
7. Give Yourself a Deadline – Don’t expect to lose 30 pounds in a month, build a business in a week, or remodel your kitchen in a weekend. Realistically determine how long it should take you and set your deadline. If absolutely needed, you can always extend it, but you’ll discover with proper scheduling this will be rare.
8. One Bite at a Time – Anything can be accomplished when you focus on one small bite at a time. Create a list of everything single action needed to accomplish your goal. Then begin working on one little thing at a time.
9. Complete Unpleasant Tasks First – Many people find that once they do the unpleasant it’s much easier to focus on the rest. Brian Tracy explains this concept clearly in his book Eat That Frog.
10. Discipline Yourself – Complete one task before going on to the next. Don’t let anything or anyone distract you. Like the phone, the TV, the computer, Email, YouTube, or surfing the web.
11. Its Finished – Once it’s done it’s done. Don’t obsess over it. Don’t spend time trying to tweak it or perfect it. Let it be. If absolutely necessary you can always change it later.
12. Just Do It – Get started now! – Ok I know this could’ve/should’ve been #1, but so many people will plan – plan -plan and never get started. So now that you know the steps GET BUSY.
Reward yourself after you complete a task. This could be something as simple as a warm cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee, to a long soak in the tub, or watching your favorite TV show or game. The most menial tasks are more bearable when you have something to look forward to.