Dealing with Procrastination

I always wanted to be a procrastinator, but I never got around to it.

You recognize there's something that must be done, but it's unpleasant and you just can't be bothered.

And yet you know; the less you think about doing something and the faster you just get on with it, the fewer problems you will cause yourself. Good planning is always helpful, but time spent fretting and procrastinating is a major drain on your energy.

This page gives a Seven point plan for overcoming natural inertia.

We don't want to frighten you about the irresponsibility of being lazy, but remember: killing time damages eternity!

Like all unpleasant tasks, it's easier once we make a start. Try this classic Seven point problem-solving routine:

  1. Devote just fifteen minutes for the task. After fifteen minutes decide whether to spend another fifteen minutes, or defer it until tomorrow. Often a challenge becomes easier once we have started. Also, when we have worked at something for fifteen minutes, we don't want to feel it was wasted so we carry on and complete the task.
  2. Imagine your feelings tomorrow. How will you feel tomorrow if you haven't done something today? This may persuade you to do it today.
  3. "It's boring" usually means it's easy. If you suffer from inertia or procrastination, then offer yourself a tangible reward for getting it done quickly.
  4. Decide what you can do and what is beyond your influence. Focus on getting on with what you can do rather than worrying about what is beyond your control.
  5. Putting off unpleasant tasks increases the total discomfort that you will feel. Getting things done will give you more good times.
  6. Deal with it now. Why do we delay doing what we know we need to do? Is it because we feel we 'have to' to do it? Is it because we cannot clearly see the benefits? Is it because we will need to move some twigs in the nest of our comfort zone? Is it because we fool ourselves into waiting till we feel like doing it? Is it because someone else might be more advantaged than us? Is it because we are just plain lazy?

    It's probably a bit of all of those. But one thing is for sure - you've already done it in your mind! And as long as there is a gap between your thoughts and your actions then there will be an inner tension which is draining your power - whether you are aware of it or not.
  7. Lazy people have no spare time. Procrastination is not only the thief of time; it is the creator of subtle inner tension. You know you are cheating yourself.

There are three secrets to overcoming procrastination:

  1. Do it, delegate it or dump it! Don't wait till you feel like doing it; the feeling will come when you start doing it.
  2. List all the things you have to do and then prioritise the list.
    • Start with the things that are necessary;
    • then those that are possible;
    • and suddenly you'll find you are doing the impossible!)
  3. Create a vision of the result and be motivated by the vision of the outcome, not the thought of the process.

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't,

you're right!

Proverbs relating to procrastination

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