Overcoming a Lifestyle of Procrastination

I was recently given an opportunity to have The Time-Optimized Life featured in a trade publication. It was going to cost me money. I was told there were only 5 spots left and that I needed to act quickly. I didn’t.

In uncertainty, I kept weighing the cost and evaluating the benefits. I wanted a particular outcome and clarity and was delaying the purchase until I felt satisfied I was going to get what I needed. After hours of “agonizing” my wife asked, “Why are you waiting? Even if you don’t get the results you want, it is not an investment that is going to bankrupt you. You’ll learn.”

Buoyed by her support and confidence, I finally decided to make the purchase. I clicked on the link, payment ready to go, only to find out all 5 spots were sold, and the opportunity was gone. I procrastinated and now lost a chance to promote the book.

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. It is a common problem that can have a negative impact on work, school, and personal relationships. While everyone procrastinates from time to time, chronic procrastination can be a serious problem. When it becomes part of your overall lifestyle, it can be devastating.

From all the participants who have taken The Time Management Analysis (TMA), procrastination is the prevalent impediment to being focused. 40 percent of the participants struggle with procrastination most or all of the time! A lack of focus brings indecision, hesitancy, and uncertainty to everyday life.

So, while we all are going to procrastinate, to keep delay and postponement from creeping more frequently into the day, identify the triggers and be ready to act when you sense you are slipping.

Trigger 1: It is About You

The first rule of procrastination is to understand it is all about you. You own it. You are the cause. You will need to change. You will negatively impact yourself and possibly others. Your life will always be reactive. Remove the excuses, cut through the fog, and focus on acknowledging you are postponing and that you are required to act.  

Trigger 2: The False Need for More Information

I wanted more information before I was going to invest in promoting my book. There is nothing wrong with that. What I allowed to happen was an unrealistic need for fully knowing the outcome. I wanted to see the future clearly. That’s never going to happen. Therefore, gather data to make an informed decision (knowing you will not have all the facts), do not accumulate so you think you can absolutely predict the outcome. To a certain extent, the future is always unknown.

Trigger 3: The Fear of Consequence

I let the expenditure for placement in the trade publication override everything else. I kept thinking, “What if I spend this money and nothing happens?” Instead, I should have asked, “What will potentially happen if I spend this money?” Because I delayed in deciding, I know the outcome now, nothing is going to happen. Don’t let life be about nothing, make it something because you act.

Trigger 4: What the Heck am I Supposed to Do?

Instead of looking at the amount of money I wanted to spend, I should have broken the decision down into a variety of smaller ones. If I had evaluated minor aspects of the opportunity, I may have gained the confidence to answer the ultimate decision on making the purchase. Remove the attitude of, “What the heck am I supposed to do?” Replace it with, “Let me break this down and figure out what I am supposed to do.”

Trigger 5: Operating in Isolation

People tend to live in procrastination alone. Through a variety of negative emotions, they choose not to share what they are experiencing. When I decided to finally involve my wife, she saw the situation in a much more positive light and pushed me to go for it. Don’t operate your life in isolation, seek out advice and guidance to get unstuck and make progress.

You’ve Got This!

Procrastination is not a deadly disease; it is a symptom of people who struggle with managing their time. Don’t allow triggers to keep you from productivity. Own your attitude and seek to get focused. Gather information, but don’t think data is your crystal ball into the future. Challenge yourself to look at the positive impact of acting versus the negative outlook of doing nothing. Use that to know what you are supposed to do. Get perspectives from others, they’ll give you the incentive to get moving.

I procrastinated, now I will never know if the investment I could have made would have helped the sales of my book. Don’t sit and wonder, trigger yourself to know.

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