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" Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage."
Alyce Cornyn-Selby

Volume 2, Issue 6-- June 2005

In This Issue

Feature Article  |  Resources  |  Fast Facts 
  Survey  |  What's New  |  About Regina | Blog

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Feature Article:
7 Reasons We Procrastinate and Strategies to Overcome Them

Ask anyone and they will tell you they have been guilty of it at one time or another. Some find it exhilarating while others find it stressful. What is it? It’s procrastination, the formal term for putting off or avoiding a task or work that needs to be completed, usually within a specific timeframe.

Very few actually describe procrastination as exhilarating. I for one, fall in the “procrastination is stressful” category. However, procrastination can be used to advantage if you understand why you procrastinate.

So, why do we procrastinate? Some might conclude that it is laziness but the men and women that I spoke with hardly fall into that category. In most instances their reasons for procrastination included one of the following:

1. Guilt -I just don’t want to do it
2. Inadequacy -I don’t know how to do it or I’m afraid I won’t do it well
3. Fear -I’m afraid of what the outcome might be or I’m uncertain of the outcome
4. Irrelevant -It’s not important to me
5. Time Management -I have plenty of time to get this done
6. Perfectionism -I won’t be able to meet my high standards
7. Ambiguity -I’m not sure what needs to be done

Many of the individuals I spoke with told me that they often experience at least one or a combination of these factors when procrastinating. So, is it hopeless? Of course not! Some of the most successful people I know procrastinate and are still successful in completing tasks. Here are some tips that you can use.

First, identify and acknowledge what is causing you to procrastinate in the first place. Write it down and analyze it. This will help you put your concerns for completing a task or job into perspective. Then, visualize yourself completing the task successfully. Athletes have long been known to visualize themselves in making a difficult shot or winning a competition. This can certainly work for you.

Once you have analyzed your reasons for procrastination, then break the task down into manageable components. Often the overall job can be overwhelming but once you begin to break it down, tasks have a way of becoming more manageable and doable. In addition, this allows you to determine if there are components that you can delegate or components where others can coach you or provide you with other kinds of support.

And finally, determine what it will take to motivate you to complete the task at hand. Having a meaningful reward mechanism in place helps. One woman I spoke with said, “If I didn’t create opportunities to reward myself, I would never get the tasks completed.” For some tasks it might be as simple as allowing yourself to take a break upon completion, for another it might be treating yourself to a special lunch or a special purchase. Whatever it is, find something that is meaningful for you.

Understanding why you procrastinate and then employing some of these tips will help you take the stress out of getting things done. So, what are you waiting for?

Note: For the record, I'm delighted to report that I did NOT procrastinate in writing this article!

Regina Barr is a management consultant and speaker with a special passion for helping women achieve leadership success. Regina helps companies develop strategies to attract, develop and retain women leaders. Her consulting firm, Red Ladder, Inc., also helps organizations and their leaders develop their full potential through strategic project management and coaching. For more information visit www.RedLadder.com or www.RedLadder.blogs.com.

Copyright 2005 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.

Resources

How to Stop Procrastinating - This site provides some practical tips and strategies for overcoming procrastination.

Overcoming Procrastination - This article explores the root causes of procrastination and provides several practical tools to overcome it.

Get Motvated - Stay Motivated - This blog provides numerous short articles on getting motivated and overcoming procrastination.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. This book by David Allen, dubbed the personal productivity guru by Fast Company magazine, provide methods to increase your personal organization, efficiency, and creative results at work and in life

Fast Facts

May Survey Results - Procrastination

Only 20% of respondents AGREED that they frequently miss deadlines because they feel that their work must always be perfect.

60% of respondents AGREED that big projects overwhelm them. As a result, they never seem to know how to get started.

50% of respondents AGREED that they enjoy the pressure of getting work done just in time.

50% of respondents AGREED that putting it off until the last minute is no big deal...they always get it done.

60% of respondents AGREED that they often think, "I'll do it tomorrow. I don't have much to do then anyway."

90% of respondents AGREED that after procrastinating they often think, "Gee, if only I had started this sooner."

50% of respondents AGREED that they often tell themselves, "I swear. I'll never wait to the last minute again!"

Survey

Each month we will be asking for your input on a short survey. This month our survey is on the power of thinking big.

What's New

Regina is delighted to report that she has completed a Master of Arts in Human Development from Saint Mary's University in Minneapolis, MN.

Interested in hearing Regina speak? Here are some upcoming programs that are open to the public:

August 18, 2005, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Topic: Generations in the Workplace, Minneapolis, MN.

Contact us at info@redladder.com for information on how to register.

About Regina
Regina Barr, President of Red Ladder, Inc., holds a BBA, an MBA and an MA in human development. With over sixteen years in the financial services industry, Regina has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing. Red Ladder provides people development services for individuals and organizations with a goal of developing people and inspiring success. In addition, Regina has a special passion for helping companies attract, develop and retain women leaders.

http://www.redladder.com
Email Regina

What our clients are saying...
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Copyright (C) 2005 Red Ladder, Inc.  ~  info@redladder.com  
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