All procrastination is the result of deluding ourselves. Procrastinators deny reality, refusing to accept responsibility for their lives. To defeat procrastination, we must stop playing games with ourselves. You can’t overcome procrastination until you accept the fact that you are responsible for what you make of your life. That may be more honesty than many people are capable of, but there is no other way to achieve a richer life.
The first step toward overcoming procrastination is recognizing that it’s a problem. Procrastinators have big problems and small problems, but most of their problems are caused by procrastination.
All procrastinators share certain traits:
– They know what they should do about a problem, and in many cases they know what specific action needs to be taken. Yet they find reasons to avoid action.
– They are reluctant to do anything about a problem now, but vow to take action at some vague time in the future.
– They promise to take action when the “right” circumstances present themselves. By making performance of the job depend on something else, they justify their decision to delay action. They delude themselves into thinking that their hands are tied. They would like to do something but can’t-it’s not their fault.
Research shows that you can develop new habits in just two weeks if you’re serious about changing. Think about people you know who always get things done. What are their work habits? How do they approach unappealing tasks? How do they stay focused?
Here are some simple tips that can help you take charge of your life today:
– Mentally prepare yourself to be productive. I begin every day in prayer and meditation. I keep inspirational messages where I can see them. Then I visualize my success during the day. Procrastination is a real monster, and it won’t go away unless we do something about it every day. If I’m passionate about a job, I can get it done at any time of day and under any circumstances-the problem is when to tackle the hardest and most tedious jobs. Always ask: At what time of day am I most productive? Most people say they’re most productive early in the morning; by mid-afternoon it’s harder for them to sit still and concentrate on work. Try to schedule the hard jobs for your most productive time.
– Don’t over-socialize at work. Office chitchat and gossip keep many people from getting more accomplished. Let people know when you don’t want to be disturbed. Think about the things in your work environment that contribute to staying focused. What things distract you or make you want to postpone a job? How can you redesign your environment to eliminate causes of procrastination? (A workspace doesn’t have to be neat, if you know where to find things.)
We are not victims of our circumstances. You can overcome procrastination now-you can do the things that need to be done. And you can learn to distinguish between the things that need to be done now and the things that can wait.
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