There are basically two kinds of people in the world – those that are productive, and have results to show, and those who procrastinate, and merely have wishes and excuses as their output.
In the fast-paced world that we are living in, productivity can be achieved in the snap of a finger. However, if you are slow even to bat an eyelid, someone may take away your golden opportunity to shine in life.
Legend Point: When opportunity comes along, it doesn’t come looking JUST for you. It comes and you either seize it or someone else does.
It’s as simple as that.
Procrastination is one of the most intense manifestations of self-sabotage that exists.
The time/money equation has never meant more than it does today.
Businesses of all sizes are looking for good people who can maximize their time and produce results.
Entrepreneurs and salespeople are looking for those results from themselves of course, in addition to those who work with them.
In business, procrastinators are useless….and you do not let yourself ever fall victim to the whiney brain.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination, defined simply, is when an individual delays completing their tasks intentionally. Over time, this turns into a habit as it is always easier to take the path of no resistance. “Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?”
It is very easy to fall into the trap of habitual procrastination. The root causes vary from individual to individual.
The message of procrastination doesn’t.
MESSAGE: Until THIS moment, you have chosen to not be in control of your life.
For the moment, forget the causes…that’s the story that manifests…that everyone sees…that no one wants to hire, that no one wants to date…
While it should be easier to avoid these pitfalls if you are aware of them, more often than not we still commit the same mistakes. Procrastination is habit defeating choice…and you and I are fully aware of both the feeling of “whiney” and the rationale that go along with it, versus choosing to be valuable.
I can RATIONALIZE the whineyness (cool word huh?) and go to the lake.
It is merely human nature to try to cover up our life value by procrastinating away….
If we actually said, “Ugh, I’m whining, I want to kick back and just let it go,” that would at least allow the recognition and validation of giving in to habit and inertia.
But instead people say, “I deserve…” and of course that is a schema of entitlement and that is danger sign 101.
Procrastination is a real life problem that robs us of our desires. It is a POWERFUL habit.
What’s the First Step in Eradicating Procrastination?
To overcome this devastating habit, people must first acknowledge the problem for what it is, instead of seeking to lay the blame somewhere else.
In other words, procrastination is a habit that can turn into an ADDICTION, for you to snowball your failure to accomplish, and a craving so intense that you will eventually crush yourself under the immense workload at the end of the day.
And that’s what you remember when you go home.
Your brain conveniently shuts off the time you wasted Internet surfing, texting, talking, doodling and dreaming.
Productive people on the other hand, are those who waste no time in COMPLETING their work as soon as possible. They know the power of focus and put their heart and soul into completing one tiny project after another, making them clear out before the end of the day so that they have time to watch Game of Thrones or go play ball or hang with the kids or whatever.
Productive people know how to handle their workload and also have time to do what is cool as well.
Productive people can sometimes do the same task in less time and with less effort than other people.
Because they have experience and HABITS in place for getting stuff done.
No big revelation there.
The productive mind will accomplish project Z in 1/3 or 1/4 or 1/10 the time the person who procrastinates.
Productive people typically “work” “hard” but they are sharp by nature of habit and tend to work very “smart,” as well.
People who sit at the desk day after day in Nowhere Land making all their plans with Nobody…get laid off. They have let their habits turn into an addiction… as it FEELS oh so much better to not do anything and just relax….like hypnotizing your life away.
Is the Procrastinator Happy?
Absolutely not. Unfortunately, the procrastinator falls victim to their procrastination time and again.
They are late on their payments, they didn’t expect to get laid off, they didn’t think the partner would split, they didn’t think to check their stock portfolio….
It’s an addiction…a powerful one…that has glaring effects to everyone.
You are definitely not alone if you procrastinate. Many people are procrastinators, and over time, it can cause severe damage to your life and your overall mental well-being. You may find yourself feeling depressed, guilty or suffer from high levels of stress due to work piling up.
Even if someone is aware that they are avoiding, they are unable to pinpoint the exact reason why, and often “exist” in a “state of denial” (right next to Missouri), “it’s not that important to me” or where they simply blame “their” procrastination on other things.
Procrastination is the habit of intentionally avoiding and delaying effective and valuable action, and it is very easy to get into this bad habit.
I look at people who procrastinate as having a life disease which can be wiped out or spread.
More often than not, by the time a case of procrastination is identified, the individual has already suffered huge blows to their self-esteem and confidence, and are likely to be depressed, guilty or suffer from anxiety disorders, among others.
Effects of Procrastination
People who procrastinate develop feelings of guilt and stress, as the work piles up and becomes urgent. Procrastination on its own is something I’ve called, Practicing for Death. Very little describes it better….
Indeed, procrastinate today and you lose countless opportunities that could have blossomed had you not procrastinated.
Procrastination really is a mess, with a slew of negative effects on your job, relationships and mental health.
People who procrastinate tend to be disorganized, as they neglect the important or the urgent work in favor of simple and EZ tasks. This leads to a pile up of tasks that soon turn urgent even if they are not important.
This leads to the individual finding it difficult to cope and rushing to deliver the urgent tasks, with little time to properly consider or evaluate their jobs. She will soon find herself perpetually stressed and overwhelmed. All that stuff that runs parallel with feelings of guilt and self-blame trigger even more bad feelings when he realizes that she could have gotten these tasks done long before they became urgent.
Due to the fear of being unable to deliver their tasks by the deadlines, or the fear of the results of doing so, procrastinators tend to start avoiding the people they have to report to, or the location itself. For example, they may call in sick to avoid having to explain why they cannot submit their work. Oft times, people procrastinate because they feel that they cannot adequately handle or complete the task, and hence choose to avoid it altogether. Some of life’s “ghosting” is undoubtedly down to this.
3) Lost Opportunities
Whether at work or in school for your kids…pushing off the work that should have been done today causes you to lose out on opportunities that could get you ahead…way ahead… in life. A piece of work consistently well done, and a reputation for being stable and dependable could well get you the promotion that you have been eyeing.
A few ounces of procrastination can make all that disappear. Likewise, an individual who always hands in work late or incomplete and below the expected standards will not make it far in life, assuming he can keep his job in the first place.
4) Your Relationships
A chronic procrastinator soon finds himself procrastinating even the simplest things that he has promised, simply because he did not mean to or sincerely want to finish the task.
You can find yourself promising your wife to fix up the shelves that she needs in the pantry, or to do your share of household chores. And yet you procrastinate till she has to call someone in to fix it, or do it herself. She gets upset, and so do you.
….all because of this stupid thing people are so good at….
Procrastination can wreck havoc on your relationships. Not just your wife, but your children and your friends.
Promised your kids you will teach them to play baseball? …or your friends that contact for a job interview, and never got round to doing it?
You will soon find yourself earning the irritation of the people around you.
All because of perpetual delay….
It’s time to do some personal repair work.
Causes of Procrastination
There are many causes of procrastination, and it certainly is different from individual to individual. It could be due to the person’s character, or even be rooted in an event that was traumatizing on some level….or the simple habit(s)…the repetitive act of pushing off doing stuff over time which develops into procrastination.
And it can really pay off big time, to go back and unearth the initial cause that sparked off this bad habit. Insight doesn’t always heal but it’s always…insightful!
Below is a list of possible causes of procrastination, and by running though these you can possibly identify similar causes in yourself.
Common to ALL of these is an inability to manage emotions. “Emotional regulation is the real story around procrastination, because to the extent that I can deal with my emotions, I can stay on task,” says researcher Timothy Pychyl of Carleton University, in Canada.
Ponder that information as you read through some of the common underlying reasons for procrastination.
Fear is one of the three driving and motivating life forces.
- Fear of the unknown.
- Fear of the big animal.
- Fear of the plane ride.
- FEAR OF THE ELEVATOR RIDE.
…The fear of failure or success.
People who are afraid to fail, are fearful of putting in effort or to even try to attempt something.
It is much easier to blame failure on their neglecting to complete the task, than on incompetence on their part to do so.
Fear of success might seem far-fetched, but there are those that fear change.
And “success” and “change” are often interchangable terms.
They are “happy” where they are, and while they know that they are capable of building a life, they fear the change in types of work or scope of work that comes with their improved and new capabilities. Hence, they would rather hide behind their apparent level of competence rather than put in the effort and ultimately succeed, as they fear being unable to cope with the new workload and expectations.
It would be…hard.
2) Faulty Belief Systems
According to the notion of “temporal discounting,” you give less importance in your priorities to tasks that are far into the future than those confronting you today. Temporal discounting refers to the tendency to discount rewards if they become so distant in time that they cease to be valuable. Case in point, one-third of Americans have no retirement funds and nearly six in 10 Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $500 or $1,000 unplanned expense.
The belief is that those things are so far away that there will STILL BE TIME to take care of them later, and in fact, more money and time will become available in the future. You can figure on having a little less energy to produce money at 70 than 40, and that your life might be just as expensive as you age, if not more so.
Notions of having enough time and money to deal with issues “tomorrow” are not the only cognitive distortion.
According to Fuschia Sirois of Bishop’s University, in Canada, procrastinators comfort themselves in the present with the false belief that they’ll be more emotionally equipped to handle a task in the future.“The future self becomes the beast of burden for procrastination,” says Sirois. “We’re trying to regulate our current mood and thinking our future self will be in a better state. They’ll be better able to handle feelings of insecurity or frustration with the task. That somehow we’ll develop these miraculous coping skills to deal with these emotions that we just can’t deal with right now.”
In the immortal words of Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlet O’Hara:
“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”