Procrastination - the act or habit of putting off or delaying acting on something pertinent, especially something requiring immediate attention: "She was smart, but her constant procrastination led her to be late with almost every assignment... " "The time for procrastination and delay is over," - J. F. Kennedy.
Are you a self-identified or is someone you know a procrastinator? True procrastination has many aspects of putting off something that one knows is necessary to achieve a desired goal.
Habitual procrastinators irrationally postpone what is in their best interest to achieve the goal they claim to desire. Although, the procrastinator acknowledges the tasks involved to achieve their goal are important-fear, anxiety, conflict, etc. blocks their ability to jump in and 'just do it.'
Procrastination is the most self-defeating and dis-empowering trait-resulting in poor grades, lost opportunities, low success achievement, being fired, missed events, the theft of time and the list goes on.
Joseph Ferrari, a DePaul university psychology professor, who has studied procrastination for over 30 years, states there is a difference between procrastination-which leads to the unfortunate outcomes listed above-and delay. Delaying something to gather more information to make a decision is a good strategy. However, waiting and/or delaying because you are frozen with fear, anxiety or conflict is debilitating and creates undesired consequences.
The age old question: How to Overcome Or Eliminate Procrastination is unique to each individual, yet, it boils down to debilitating fear, anxiety or conflict. Fear is complex-fear of failure, fear of success and fear of fear.
A lot of procrastination comes from a misunderstanding of how to overcome it. More often than not, when procrastinators are pushing to finally get going on a task, they want to 'repair' their mood by doing something nice as a motivator. Such as: Taking a nap or other distractions-that 'give in to a feel good moment.' These 'feel good moments,' are not effective since it prompts feelings of guilt and shame for having procrastinated once again-i.e. procrastination on top of procrastination.
The best approach is to discover the emotions that drive or distract from setting a plan and working the plan to accomplish a task/goal.
Three powerful techniques that will prompt a procrastinator to act are:
Forgive yourself: All spiritual teachings posit that if you forgive yourself for any perceived wrong doing-such as procrastination, you have a greater willingness to push past the fear, anxiety, conflict, etc. that blocks your ability to move forward.
Review previous successes: Reflect on how awesome you feel when you have accomplished a task and/or goal; and how much it benefited you and others.
Start with the easiest step first: An immediate mood boost comes from doing what you intend to do-the things that are important to you. Do the smallest item of what needs to get done, even if it's just reading about the task at hand.
Success is One Step and another and another: Einstein did not discover the Law of Relativity with one thought. Edison did not invent the light bulb with one experiment. Edison has been quoted that he knew 1,000 ways how not to make the light bulb, and voila`; we know an experiment produced the light bulb, which is currently still in use today in part.
Procrastination presents a set of questions that are much deeper than all that. Many personal transformation consultants facilitate 'Time Management programs.' Time Management is a fallacy-time can't be managed, time simply is. You can only manage yourself.
When you notice yourself procrastinating... Ask yourself: What is stopping me? What am I afraid of? What is the first thing I need to do? When you understand what is driving your propensity to procrastinate, you will discover what you need to do to take the first step to accomplish the necessary tasks to accomplish the goal.
Remember the mistakes you made are stepping-stones to accomplish success going forward. There are no mistakes in life. So called mistakes are opportunities to learn what works and what needs a different approach or fine tuning.