Procrastination = Frustration
"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task." ~William James
Did you ever imagine what it would be like if all you had to do was think of something, and if it was your will, it would be completed? Wouldn't that be the best technology ever created? My favorite would be a running tab of a grocery list: When I think of something I need to put on the list, not only does it get added but the shopping gets done for me too! Never going to happen? True enough. But, its great to dream! The truth of the matter is that if all you do is think about getting something done- its never going to get accomplished. A little down time is necessary for everyone, and a small amount of procrastination is a right to all. How do we know when to tell if we are procrastinating too much? What kind of problems can occur? What causes chronic procrastination? How can we deal with this?
The Sands of Time
How Much is Too Much?
Everyone has put off a duty or two one time or another. Sometimes its just for a few hours, or a day, and sometimes it never gets done. It doesn't always cause a problem, sometimes its even a good thing to wait because other events may change to alter the entire situation. For example, Janet continuously put off the filling of the taxes. The day before they were due, she received a form in the mail that she forgot was coming and it gave her another tax write-off which saved her money. That is a good scenario. On the other hand, there could be a situation where Cindy kept putting off sending a sympathy card to her neighbor when she lost her father; a month after the funeral she heard that her neighbor was hurt by the fact that she never received a card from Cindy. By that point it is just too late and there is a rift between neighbors that will take a lot more time to fix than if she just would have sent the card. Charles Kingsley once said, "Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties on its back."
Procrastination Is Not Always Laziness
Many people assume that a procrastinator is just a lazy person with no goals and no hope. This is not true. Some of the main causes for chronic procrastination are:
- Trying to regain control over one's life, job, responsibilities
- Burned out, bored, lack of enthusiasm
- Fear of imperfection/failure
- Need for priority check
Lacking focus is the first push into the path of procrastination. Finding excuses to put off responsibilities comes easy at first, then it gets harder. People will start to feel as if they cannot count on you to complete necessary tasks, and that will continue to eat away at you no matter how much you try to ignore it. It comes to a point where you have to pull yourself up by your "bootstraps" and get your mind in gear! This bad habit can be overcome, its just like any other habit- it takes perseverance
Take time to think in solitude and in that time, make a plan to take action. You are in control.
Steps to Get Back in the Groove
Depending on the level of procrastination you are in, or should I say the level of responsibilities you are buried under; you can pull yourself out with the proper steps.
- First you must find the reason why you have been putting things off. If you can't figure it out, ask a good friend, a family member or a professional.
- Find a solution. If you are depressed, or anxious get medical attention. If you are disorganized or out of control- make a plan to get organized and gain control. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help- we have all been there.
- Hold yourself accountable. If you say you will do something by a set time period, do it. No excuses.
- Set goals. Set short attainable goals as well as long term goals. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. In those goals, set some to give you down time. Make rest and relaxation a responsibility to renew your spirit and refresh your mind.
When you regain control over your time management, you will feel better about yourself and others will notice. You will regain any lost accountability and renew any failing relationships that were suffering because of the slump you were in. You control your own actions. Don't let life pile up on top of you- get out there and do what you are meant to do!