Over the years, procrastination has taken its toll in my life. I could possibly tally its financial impact but I cringe when I think of missed opportunities. I shake my head when I see the Christmas cards I bought last year, but never mailed… I can fix that! But I can’t fix the time last March when I went home on vacation. Over and over again, I kept thinking I should visit my uncle. But I never made the time. Six weeks later, he passed away. Sometimes you can’t get back what procrastination costs you!
“Procrastination is a thief,” but when we’re feeling stressed and tired—it can closely resemble a welcomed friend. We may not immediately feel or understand its effects, but procrastination comes with a high price tag! It can rob and tax our lives, businesses, health and relationships like the power of compounded interest.
But how can we resist the temptation to procrastinate? It comes to lure us every single day! We must first recognize the reason for our putting things off, then we can creatively develop strategies to avoid the trap. Here are some of the main reasons we procrastinate and how I’m learning we can motivate ourselves to action:
1. Fear: The mind is capable of playing elaborate tricks. In order to protect ourselves, we sometimes engage in self-sabotage. Procrastination can be an attempt to avoid disappointment through inaction. We don’t want to deal with the possibility of failure, so we exercise control by doing… nothing. Solution: Sometimes a good dose of honesty is the key to overcoming our anxieties over possible failure. Admit you’re afraid and then honestly assess what your procrastination is costing you! Chances are you are losing more from your standstill!
2. Laziness: Nothing deep here... sometimes we just don’t want to do what needs to be done! Solution: Develop the practice and habit of diligence. Do things as soon as you can so that laziness doesn’t have the opportunity to influence you. Energy produces more energy. Doing one thing energizes you to do more!
3. Indecision: We don’t know what to do, so we do nothing. One minute our minds are moving in one direction, the next minute they’re heading the opposite way. It’s called being double-minded and when we allow lack of focus to influence us in one area of life, we risk losing focus altogether. Solution: Make a decision, because you have to do something. Do it knowing that you have the ability to be resilient in any outcome.
4. Perfectionism: If you often find yourself saying “I will do A once B happens,” you probably procrastinate from perfectionism. The perfectionist always has a reason for their inaction and time is usually the scapegoat. Solution: Release your demand for the perfect time and simply find the best time. Ask yourself, what if B never happens? What would you do then?
5. Overwhelm: It’s hard to start when you don’t where to begin. We can delay taking action when we feel like everything is falling in on us at once. Solution: Take a step back and rather than trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do next, pick the task that is easiest to do. Taking action regardless of how small will increase confidence. More confidence will fuel you to take more decisive actions.
Do Your Work: Identify the reason(s) behind your procrastination and then take action.
Define Your Wealth: Affirm out loud, “I do what needs to be done. My commitment to being responsible and taking action is greater than anything that could produce procrastination in my life.”
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.