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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
Copyright 2005 Regina
Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.