Some of the sarcastic folks among us turn this idea around and say never do today what you can put off until tomorrow! But procrastination is one of the major reasons thousands of people don’t see improvement in their financial and social status. They simply postpone important tasks and fail to finish projects because they say “I’ll do it tomorrow” then don’t!
In addition to keeping us from being as productive as we can be, procrastination also contributes to our emotional and mental troubles. We may try to ignore the feelings but when we put things off “until tomorrow” or “next week” we think less of ourselves and carry guilty feelings. Add to this the problems we create in our business and personal relationships and you have serious trouble.
Before we can understand how to get rid of procrastination we have to understand why we put things off. It is important to dig into our personal lives to figure out what makes us delay tasks, projects and decisions. Some psychologists and counselors believe that procrastination is a symptom of some mental/emotional problem, such as fear of the unknown.
For example, people who don’t start a project or who put off finishing a project may be afraid of failure or rejection. In some cases their line of thinking is “I’m afraid it won’t be good enough” or “What if it doesn’t work. What will people think?”
Of course there are people who put things off out of what seems to be simple laziness. It may seem that there is no connection between procrastination because of fear and procrastination because of laziness. But some people who have studied this subject say that “laziness” is just a mask for a bigger emotional/mental outlook. People who procrastinate have a negative attitude about the benefits of starting and completing jobs or projects, very similar to procrastination because of fear of the unknown.
How to Move Forward
Start your journey by creating a positive environment in which to work. This process might start with having a place to do the work that can stay cluttered. Don’t waste time straightening and cleaning when you should be working toward the objective.
Many people put things off because they feel they have to get it “perfect” the first time, even immediately. Don’t be afraid to make small mistakes. Start the task and make adjustments. Learn as you go and procrastination will gradually fade into the background.
One of the best pieces of advice ever given to those who are overwhelmed by the “size” of a project is: one step at a time. Do the project in small pieces. Break it down into half a dozen smaller steps so you see some results sooner than if you try to get the whole project done perfectly.
Tell yourself and others what your goal is. Be sure to remind yourself that you are making progress on those small steps or milestones along the way. As you do this, keep track of where you are on the road to completion. When you have a new job or project make a schedule for finishing those small steps. Make sure your small goals and overall objective are realistic. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to finish perfectly and quickly. This is one of the major reasons for procrastination.