pro·cras·ti·na·tion[proh-kras-tuh-ney-shuh n, pruh?] noun – the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention: She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment.
If your answer is yes, you’re not alone.
In fact, procrastination afflicts the vast majority of people in one way or another.
Unfortunately, for some, procrastination has become such a bad habit that it prevents them from doing even the smallest of tasks and disrupts their life.
Procrastinators work as many hours per day as other people (and often work longer hours) but they invest their time in the wrong activities.
Some people procrastinate because they simply don’t understand how to prioritize. For others, procrastination is a reaction to a feeling of being overwhelmed.
For many people, it stems from not believing they’re capable of completing a task; as a result, they work on what is easiest, leaving the more difficult items for “another day.”
Unfortunately, the big task isn’t going to go away and other items will inevitably be added so the list just keeps getting longer and longer.
Worse still, are those who do not act because they are afraid of failure.
Others just aren’t organized enough to figure out what they need to do to complete a task.
Procrastination costs a great deal in terms of time and money, both personally and professionally.
If you are a procrastinator you must learn that there is never a perfect time to start a job. Just do it and don’t stop until you’re finished.
The bottom line is that it takes courage to make decisions and to act – it takes bold moves and guts to reach for your goals, but if there is no action, there can be no results.
No guts, no glory!
There is an interesting maxim called Parkinson’s Law (attributed to Cyril Northcote Parkinson) that states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Have you ever noticed how that works for most people?
In school the teacher gave you an assignment and told you it was due a week from Tuesday. Despite your best intentions to work on it a little bit each day, what happens?
Yep, Monday night you find yourself pulling an all-nighter to complete the assignment, just under the wire.
The pattern tends to play out for most people into their careers as well – putting off work until just before the boss’ deadline, sitting down to pay the bills just before everything is due, waiting to buy a birthday present until the very last moment, etc.
It is a very interesting phenomenon.
Now, don’t hate me, but I can say with all honesty that I have never been a procrastinator. I was conditioned very early on to make decisions quickly and then act on them and that’s just the way I have lived my life.
It’s a matter of discipline; it’s a matter of accountability. But I’ve seen procrastination weave its insidious spell on the people around me all my life and there is a common theme among all of the procrastinators I have known – they were all nearly phobic about making decisions.
Isn’t that interesting?
The key to controlling and ultimately combating this destructive habit is to make a conscious effort to recognize when you start procrastinating, figure out why it happens, and then decide to take proactive steps to eliminate it from your life.
If you’re putting off starting a project because you find it overwhelming, try to break the project into a set of smaller, more manageable tasks. Once you accomplish one small task, you’ll start to feel that you’re achieving things, and soon the whole project won’t seem so overwhelming.
Regardless of your reason for procrastinating, you must break this destructive habit if you are ever to succeed.
This nasty habit will cause you to miss opportunities and could even derail your career or your life.
If you’re completely honest with yourself, you probably know when you’re procrastinating. Have the discipline and the courage to stick to your priorities.
Understand the reasons for procrastination and find ways to motivate yourself to get moving every single day.
Daily action toward your goal is such a huge key to your success.