Procrastination- The Enemy within

“Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want.”

- Robert G Allen

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”

– Jim Rohn

“The future you see is the future you get.”

– Robert G Allen

Procrastination I believe is the enemy no. 1 of your goals and all the rewards that you so naturally deserve. I can say it with complete authority as I had been a master procrastinator myself for a considerable period of my life.

Procrastination is the habit of keep on delaying your action often indefinitely. How many times you have heard yourself saying that you will do something tomorrow, and somehow that tomorrow never comes.

I has sailed enough in the same boat. As a result, I not only lost precious time, but also a number of good opportunities. The habit of procrastination, robbed me my chances of earning more money, building on important relationships and all the happiness that could have been mine. This also resulted in poor health, lack of peace and security, fewer friends which often led to hopeless situations.

As I decided to take control of my life, I realized that one major work on my personality was to replace my habit of procrastination. Why I use the word replace is because, you can not change a habit, but you can replace a bad habit with a good one. In order to something about it I analyzed the reasons that made me procrastinate, since, I new that if I have to change something I have to work on the roots of the problem. Later, my research in this area showed that for most of the people the reasons for procrastination are same as me.

Here are the reasons that made me procrastinate:

  • Waiting for right mood or time
  • Fear such as Fear of failure, Fear of Ridicule, Fear of Rejection, etc
  • Perfectionism
  • Unable to set my priorities right

ARE THEY TRUE FOR YOU TOO?

If yes, read on how I overcame this habit. It worked for me; it will work for you as well. After all it is the biggest enemy standing between you and your success.

1. Recognize that you are procrastinating

The first step to do something about any problem is to recognize that the problem exits. If the things are not happening the way they should; if you are not achieving the way you want to; if you never seem to finish your assignments on time; or feel rushed just before the deadline; you are making plans after plans but, never taking action on them; then please look into yourself. Chances are that you too suffer from the habit of procrastination.

Take a sheet of paper NOW and make a list of things that you have been thinking of doing, but have not done it so far. Just make a list and do it NOW!

2. Identify the reason that is making you procrastinate

For each of the thing that you have written down on your list there may be one or more of the above reasons that is making you procrastinate. It is possible that you couldn’t just get around doing it, i.e. you are still waiting for the right mood and time, or that there are other things that are taking priority. May be there is some kind of fear in your mind or you simply think that you will not be able to do it very well (perfectionism). However, chances are that you had been plain lazy. It could be any one of these or may be a combination. I know it and understand you. After all I was also there once upon a time.

3. Getting over it

Identifying the cause of the problem is often half the problems solved. Here, I am trying to give you some very practical ways to fight with your internal enemy that is preventing you from reaching your goal.

A. If you keep on waiting for the right mood or time: This is perhaps the single largest reason for procrastinating. Rather than calling a reason I must call it an excuse. ‘Oh, I am feeling too tired today'; ‘ It is already late today'; ‘ Let me get refreshed a bit by watching TV'; these are the kind of excuses, I used to make for not doing something. May be you do it too, using some different words.

This happens as the task that you have to do is either not very pleasant to you. We are always having the mood and find time to do things that we enjoy doing or find pleasant. In order to do things that you do not find interesting or unpleasant do the following two things:

  • Schedule it in the time when your energy level is highest, such as in the morning. To learn how to plan and schedule your week click here. When your energy levels are high it is easy to do uninteresting tasks witout drawing out too much.
  • For every such task that you find unpleasant, schedule a suitable reward that you will give yourself for completing it. However it should not be something that can make you forget everything else, such as playing video games, or surfing TV channels. The rewards could be a snack that you love eating, or a cup of coffee, or may be a movie at the end of the week (if the magnitude of task deserved it).

 

B. If you it is fear that is stopping you: There are some tasks that evoke within us some kind of fear. These are the task that we have to accomplish by going out side our comfort zone. The only possible way of removing fear is by taking action. (See Power of Action) Once you have understood that something has to be done, close your mind, stop thinking and just do it. The more you think, the mental monster of fear will grow bigger and you will procrastinate even more. Bravery is not absence of fear but doing something in-spite of fear.

I know it is easier said then done. Here is the technique that will help you. Ask yourself that what you will do if you are not afraid. Visualize yourself being brave. And act as if you are brave. You can also use positive self talk to remove fear. These are powerful techniques that can help you remove any challenge originating in your mind. To learn about positive visualization and self talk click here.

 

C. Perfectionism: Give yourself a break. No body is perfect. This is just another kind of fear; the fear of not being able to do things properly resulting to ridicule. People will procrastinate doing things thinking that they do not enough experience, knowledge or skill to do something. Yes knowledge and skill is important, but that can be acquired. Experience is something that we acquire as we do something.

My work involves a lot of writing. If I start by thinking that I will write a perfect article, I will never be able to write anything. So, what I do. I just start writing. And then, may be to make it better I re-write, may be several times, till I get satisfactory results. So, perfection is not something you start with, but it is something that you achieve by taking persistent action and practice. So, don’t aim at perfection, but at simply doing it.

 

D. If you are unable to prioritize your activities: Have you ever noticed that how you suddenly start tidying your drawer or your house when in fact you must be doing something else? Routine tasks takes most of your time, and you are left with no time for doing things that can take you forward towards your goal? You start surfing the net to find something useful and then you just spend too much time on it. You switch on television to catch on headlines than watch it for hours. This is nothing but your mind seeking for excuses for procrastinating doing something, mostly because you are either not in right mood or due to certain fears. Yes, routine task are important, but they should not become your excuse for doing something more important.

The best way I have discovered is to use the tools that I have provided in the section ‘Goal Oriented Day-Everyday’. Once you have a daily schedule ready in which you have allotted time for both your routine task and the goal oriented tasks, you will have already planned out your priorities and will simply go by it, without thinking. Since, you will be following your day’s achievements by using ‘Daily Performance Sheet,’ you will create the accountability for yourself that will keep you away from procrastinating.
If you use the techniques and tools that I have suggested in these sections I assure you abundance in every field of your life.

God Bless You!!

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