I am in complete agreement with anyone who believes that every individual is unique, special and different in many ways than any other person on the planet. But, most of us do have similar tendencies and one of those is our capacity to procrastinate.
Dr. Travis Bradberry laid out several of our worst time robbers and some common-sense ways to defeat them in his article, “How To Make Yourself Work When You’re Not In The Mood.” Working with students, I hear an endless cacophony of reasons that assignments don’t get finished on time. My all-time favorite is, “I work better under pressure.” Someone please explain to these students that pressure is what causes water pipes to burst and flood homes and it is also the thing that causes bombs to explode. Research cited by Dr. Bradberry reveals that a myriad of health problems including hypertension and heart disease accompany the high-stress world of chronic procrastinators.
One of the things alluded to in the article that cause procrastination is being overwhelmed by the size of a project. This is the deer in the headlights syndrome. What happens to deer caught in the headlights? They typically don’t make it to the other side of the road without a life-ending injury. When headlights startle you, “the best thing we can do is move in any direction, fast.” One of the best things to do is answer the question, “how do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “one bite at a time.” Break the large task into manageable pieces and consume each peace at a comfortable pace.
Another cause of procrastination is fear of failure. If you never start, how can you fail. The problem with this train of thought is that by not starting a project, your fail without giving yourself a shot at success. Also, if this is a project for work, you could put promotions, recognition and even your continued employment in jeopardy. Worry about everything that could happen is a waste of time. Most projects assigned to people are given because they have demonstrated a knack for completing them. Take a deep breath, ask questions, ask for help and use the tools that others have recognized in you to do your best job.
Dr. Bradberry made a number of other very useful points about conquering procrastination. You can find his complete article posted on the blog page of my website: www.danielsec.com.