Procrastination: What Are You Putting Off Doing?

By Wendy Hearn

What decisions are you feeling resistance to making? When you are "putting off" things, this is called procrastinating. Procrastination affects most people to a greater or lesser degree. You're probably aware that at times, you've been inclined to put off a task.

For some people procrastination has become a habit, but the remedy is straightforward. Identify what you're putting off and then address it. The key to handling procrastination is ACTION.

There is often a pattern to procrastination. You may put off only certain tasks or many. It may be fear that causes it. Perhaps there's a phone call you dread making because you don't know what to say or how the other person may react. Some other common areas that many people put off are:

• Time for fun

• Making changes in work or personal life

• Doing what you really want to do

• Time for family and friends

• Making decisions

It's also easy to keep putting tasks off because they aren't likely to meet your own high standards. Perhaps you just have too much on your plate, so inevitably you postpone some tasks.

You may procrastinate over a project until time's running short. You probably believe you work better under pressure, which motivates you to complete it. Living life at this speed will catch up with you, eventually draining your energy.

When you procrastinate, ask yourself why and then discover how to overcome it. Procrastination is a symptom and not the cause. If you procrastinate, don't give yourself a hard time about it - just decide to act. Get to the root cause, understand it and take action.

Think of a task you've completed without procrastinating. Why was this task easy to complete? Perhaps it was fun, you felt confident or it was a team effort. Use this successful method and apply it to a delayed task. Step back from the situation to understand it more clearly.

Focus on action and devise a plan to get the tasks done. List your tasks - delegate some, refuse others and prioritise the rest. Start with the task that you've been putting off the most. Tackle one task and break it into small chunks. Start the process and allow yourself to feel successful on completion. Carry this feeling of success forward, build on it, and be inspired by it.

Have an encouragement team, perhaps a friend, work colleague or coach. Create a message for yourself, perhaps "Just Do It" as a note on your desk. Change your message weekly to suit you.

Schedule a specific time but limit it. Getting started is often the hard bit but then the momentum builds. A client was putting off starting a new project but agreed to spend just 5 minutes on it to see what happened. When we next spoke, he was delighted because after the initial 5 minutes, he found it easy to continue.

Lighten up the task or situation. Usually when we procrastinate over something we make it more of a chore than it needs to be and we don't always approach it in the best frame of mind. Reward yourself for completing the task.

Stop procrastinating! You will experience less fear, less struggle and a sense of relief.

Wouldn't you like to leave procrastination behind and really move ahead faster? That's what I assist my clients to do. Click here to find out more.


Copyright © 2000-2002 Wendy Hearn

Wendy Hearn is a personal and professional coach who works with business owners, professionals, executives and managers who are ready to enrich their lives. . . finding more success, fun, balance, joy and time. She coaches one-to-one with individuals and groups by telephone and email. s

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