“Always put off till tomorrow what you could do today.”
Every now and then I catch myself echoing my own mother when I say these words to my son about some task he’s waffling on.
Procrastination is one of the more common self-defeating behaviours we work with as coaches (and mothers, for that matter!).
Why do so many of us put off taking action on the things we know, deep down, will improve our well-being?
Procrastination can be rooted in something as simple as not being a very good judge of time.
Perhaps you’re always the last one out of the office, finishing up reports just under the wire. Maybe you think you have more time, or you don’t realize how long your tasks will take to finish, or you wait till the last minute, not realizing how little energy you’ll have by then to accomplish anything. Or perhaps it’s a potent mix of all three!
Some people believe they can only be productive when the creative juices are flowing and the mood is just right.
For others, the problem is a bit harder to pick apart: to avoid acting is to avoid the possibility of failure or disappointment. Picking apart those deeper issues can be challenging, but it’s some of my favourite work to do as a coach.
Whatever lies at the heart of the issue, it’s possible to escape the procrastination trap, one small step at a time.
Here’s how to start: Rather than gaze in despair at all the things you need to get done (then proceed to surf the net for three hours and do none of them!), pick ONE thing and do it today. Tomorrow, pick ONE thing and get it done.
And enjoy the sense of accomplishment that starts to replace the crippling guilt.