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The Secrets of Overcoming Procrastination


Tags:  Job stress, Productivity, Procrastination

According to efficiency expert Michael Fortino, in your lifetime you will spend ""seven years in the bathroom, six years eating, five years waiting in line, three years in meetings, two years playing telephone tag, eight months opening junk mail, and six months sitting at red lights.""

 

That's a lot of time spent doing things that may not be productive and may not be necessary. And if you add these hours to all the others you spend doing things that you may not want to do, life can fill up quickly with wasted time. 

 

Managing time has been an issue that people have regularly struggled with and written about. However, what is not discussed is that often one of the major problems behind poor time management is procrastination. 

 

According to Marshall J. Cook in Adams Time Management, there are very real steps you can take to avoid avoidance. So if you're a pro at procrastination here are five things to consider when you're having difficulty jump-starting a project.

 

You Haven't Really Committed to Doing the Job

Many times when you're faced with a job to be done, you put off starting because you're not really sold on doing it at all. It may be that you don't think it's your job or that it's a waste of time. That's when you need to answer two fundamental questions:

 
  • What's in it for me if I do it?
  • What will happen to me if I don't?
 

The first question may increase your motivation. You're no longer doing it because someone said you had to. You're doing it for yourself and what you gain from doing it.   The second question helps you identify if the result of not doing it is worse then the experience of doing it. If you find there is no benefit for doing the job and no penalty for not doing it, you may well decide not to do it at all.

 
You're Afraid of the Job
 

Sometimes this is tough to face, but it may very well be keeping you from starting what you need to accomplish. If you can identify your reluctance as fear and track it to its source, you can deal with the fear and get on with the job. 

 

The three most common fears are:

 

·         fear of failure: ""I'll find out I really don't have what it takes.""

·         fear of success: ""Others will find out I really don't have what it takes.""

·         fear of finishing: ""Once it's over, what will I do next?""

 

If you can identify the fear, it won't necessarily go away. But if the goal is worth pursuing, you'll be able to act despite the fear.

 

You Don't Place a High Enough Priority on the Activity


It may be that you know something has to be done and you're even convinced you're the one to do it, you just don't want or need to do it enough to get started.

 

You may want to take a look at the job and see if you can redefine it in terms of the ultimate benefit you'll receive for doing it.   Think of it in positive terms. Instead of thinking of it in terms of avoiding the problem, realize you'll be able to stop worrying about the problem and save yourself time later on.

 

You Don't Know Enough to Do the Task


Sometimes it can be difficult admitting you simply do not know enough to do the job right. So instead you ignore it rather than let others know you don't know.

 

What you need to understand is that not everyone knows everything. Recognizing you need assistance is half the battle. The next half is determining where to get help. Gather information by asking questions. Read the directions if they're available. Research the topic in books or on the Internet. Whatever you can do to get started, just do it.

 
You Just Plain Don't Wanna!
 

If after looking at all other reasons for procrastination you decide the reason you don't start is just because you don't want to undertake the task at hand, you have two choices. Do it anyway or get someone else to do it for you. It may mean you have to pay them, but then again, it may be worth it.

 


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