Procrastination is the thief of time.”
― Charles Dickens
Do you ever procrastinate doing something? I do, which is why I haven't written a blog article since the first of April. Why haven’t I just taken a few minutes, sat down, and started writing? Well, I was busy with many other things. At least that was my rationalization. . . No really, I was busy working, entertaining, teaching, commuting, and more. However, I did find time to post on Facebook a couple of times and watch two or three movies in the last 26 days. I also finished a quilt top I’d been working on. So why didn’t I write a blog post? I’ll tell you. It’s hard. I don’t always feel inspired. It’s just plain easy to put it off.
I suspect I’m not the only one who procrastinates. We just recently passed the April 15th deadline for filing personal taxes. Tax season is a favorite for many procrastinators. April 15th is the one day of the year when many post offices extend their hours so people can get their taxes post marked at the last minute. There is always a line up. Many others are hoping their computers and internet connections don’t have any difficulties prior to midnight.
Why do we procrastinate and what is the cost?
1. One reason we procrastinate is because we become distracted. Instead of focusing on the task that needs to be done, we get easily sidetracked by other things such as the internet, friends, video-games, TV, music etc.
2. Sometimes we are just not in the mood to do what needs to be done. Perhaps it’s been a long day and we feel the need to relax.
3. We may procrastinate in the name of perfectionism. If we can’t do it perfectly, we hesitate to do it at all. No one likes failure even though it’s a great teacher.
4. We may procrastinate because the task is unpleasant, hard, or we don’t know how to do it. We avoid pain by procrastinating.
5. We may feel that we need to be motivated or inspired to do something, rather than just getting to it and letting the inspiration come as you work on the task at hand.
Funny that when you postpone something one day for any reason, it’s easy to postpone that same thing another day and another day, until either you never do it, or you put yourself in a situation where a deadline approaches for the thing you’ve procrastinated doing and now the stress factor kicks in.
One cost of procrastination is wasted time. Time is our most precious commodity. We have a limited amount of time here on earth. The minutes, hours, and days that pass are never had again. The cost can also include negative feelings of failure or stress because something has been left undone. This may affect our mental health. There may be financial costs if one procrastinates paying bills, taxes, or has to do last minute shopping. Also procrastinating may negatively affect those around you who are depending on you to do your part. There may also be missed opportunities that won’t present themselves again.
So how do we resolve the procrastination habit? Margie Warrell has written an article that is very good on procrastination. She suggests the following:
1. Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline.
2. Break your goal into small pieces.
3. Visualize the future you want. Imagine celebrating your success and accomplishments after completing the task you've procrastinated.
4. Harness fear. Think about the cost of inaction. Perhaps fear of what you don't want can actually motivate you to do something.
5. Build accountability. If you have someone to help keep you on track and check on your progress, you are more likely to take action.
6. Reward Progress. Celebrate successes as you go along with some type a of a reward.
7. Act Bravely. Starting today. Do something today and each day to work on your goal. A little action will motivate you to a little more action. I've found that if I just start, I can accomplish a lot. It's the starting that's hard.
Wow, I'm feeling better, now I can post.
 Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It. Now. http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/