Procrastination wastes a lot of our valuable time.
susannp4 / Pixabay – Procrastination wastes a lot of our valuable time.

I don’t think anyone would argue that procrastination is habit-forming.  Once we stop doing productive things, we get into a habit of doing unproductive things – procrastinating.  Procrastination is intentional.  We choose to do it – either consciously or unconsciously.  If procrastination is something that is habitual and intentional and I choose it consciously or unconsciously – how do I change my habit to become more productive?

Before you can stop doing something that has become habit-forming, you have to recognize two things – the actual act of procrastination and the cause why you chose it.

Let’s assume that you made a decision do something of a lower priority right now rather than work on that number one priority.  You still have time to complete the number one priority before its deadline.  Was the decision to work on something else based on something legitimate, appropriate and justifiable?  If it was, then you are not procrastinating.  If your decision could not be justified, then you probably did venture into the procrastination zone.

Some solutions seem easy, but they all take action on your behalf.  The earlier you can work on your number one priority, the better off you are.  Start early and stay focused.  Set a time limit to work on nothing but your number one project and don’t divert your attention from it during that time.

If you are not making the progress you think you should be making, maybe the task is too complex.  You must break it down into smaller tasks.  One task might take ten minutes and another might take an hour.  Nothing succeeds like success.  Achieve success on the shorter tasks and the project begins to become more achievable.

People tend to put off important decisions until the last minute – another form of procrastination.  Obviously, the earlier you make a decision the better it is.  Set a specific time to have a decision made regarding what you are going to do.  Don’t let it go on hour after hour without a decision.  Time wasted is not regained.

Sometimes it helps to start with the finish in mind first and work backward to the beginning.  You see the finish line, then you see the path leading to the finish line, then you see the middle of the race, then you see the path after you left the starting line, finally, concentrate on the starting line.  What is really required to make that decision to start?  You can see the entire process and what is required – this can help make the decision-making process easier.

As a professional, you don’t have the option of not doing what is required at work.  However, in our private lives, procrastination takes a stronghold because we are indifferent to starting and doing new things.  We may have a tendency to not do what is required because we are tired, it’s too cold, it’s inconvenient, I want to watch this show tonight, I have to go to the party with the gang from work – you can rationalize anything you want to procrastinate.

Why can’t you be just as professional at home, as you are at work?  You can, but you have to recalibrate your brain for the accountability.  Regardless of how tired you are, or how many things you must do, you have to get the house repair done – or get income tax files – or write another chapter in your book – or whatever it is to complete that number one personal project.

I have a tendency, a strong tendency to over-analyze a project or to do things to such a minute level that I spend my time on perfection rather than on simple accomplishment.  You can probably write ‘victory’ next to a project if it is 90% completed.  It does not have to be perfect.  You have to start; you can make adjustments along the way.  You don’t have to over-think what is required before you start.

Almost every one of us is distracted by our environment and by our subconscious mind.  The environment can be controlled.  Your subconscious mind is more difficult to rein in and keep your focus on your project.  Your subconscious mind will recapture all the failures you have managed to accumulate on related projects in your past.

This failure history is extremely difficult to counter.  Imagining and visualization work well as an effective counter, but they don’t work overnight.  You have to work on your visualizations over time to dampen the frequency and intensity of your former failures.  Visualizing success is equal to actual success.  Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference.  Visualization should be employed very early in both your professional and personal life.


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