PROCRASTINATION… The fine art of ‘Mañana’
Procrastination…It’s more than just poor time-management.
Is it an Irish disease? Or do we simply blame every thing on… ‘Ah, Sure everybody does it here, we’re supposed to do it…it’s just an ‘Irish’ thing, it’s part of us’
Procrastination = To put off doing something, especially out of habitual Carelessness or Laziness. To postpone or delay an action needlessly.
At this stage I’ll ask you a question. Can you name one idea which made money?... Sliced bread, Bottled Water... the list could be endless. But how did the idea of any of the household names or products you’ve thought of, make money?
Was it not the ACTION of making the idea happen which made the product or service which made the money. So therefore, no idea has ever made money. It is not the idea that made money... it is the action!
If we procrastinate i.e. to put things off, things which we actually want to achieve, can lead to feeing guilty, to feeling inadequate to feelings of self doubt about ourselves. These feelings can and often do lead to stress and/or anxiety. We also now that anxiety can lead to panic attacks and the knock on effects of panic attacks can lead to depression and so on. The chain of events following this doesn’t bear thinking about.
So why do we do it?
A very difficult question to answer, but let’s think about this for a moment. None of us want to referred to as being lazy or careless, most of us want to be talked about because of the positive action we took to make something happen. Yet each and everyone of us procrastinate.
We all believe that we have great ideas and we want to make some sort of changes or adjustments in our lives, career, relationships, health etc.
What stops us, is it fear, fear of failure or success? Even worse the dreaded procrastination. We all recognise these words…
Why? We recognise them purely because we use them, use them quite frequently. I must do… I’ll try to do… If someone else does something… Hopefully it will happen… etc etc. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to try a new restaurant go and do it, don’t say we must try that new restaurant, go and do it.
Think about these words, they all relate to or give us an opportunity of FAILURE, but at least we have the proverbial clause built in… at least I tried. I don't know anyone that likes failing, yet so many of us give ourselves the opportunity not to succeed?
The words we use are so detrimental to what we want to achieve, that we need to think before we speak going forward. If I say ‘I must do something’ I know deep down that I won’t do it, or ‘I’ll try to do something’. I know that if I fail, at least I tried, so that makes it ok! To quote a coaching colleague of mine, these are ‘MUSTABATING’ words.
Given that we do procrastinate, what type of a procrastinator are you?
‘Perfect Preparers’ These need to do more research, they need more information… they spend years not doing because of the search for perfection!
‘Socialisers’ These are constantly catching up, going from desk to desk, talking about their idea even the talking the talk procrastinator!
‘Straightener Uppers’ These have to keep straightening everything up, Re-organising the desk, the room, the drawers, need to tidy away stuff until it’s…too late!
‘Travellers or movers’ These must move job, house, city, country before ‘it’ will work!
‘Drifters’ The dreamers, loose track of time, avoiding the action!
‘Happy Helpers’ These do everybody else’s work but their own! They find it hard to say NO!
‘The Rebels’ These often forget or EVEN don’t do, purposely… just to annoy someone else!
What are the potential results or dangers of procrastination?…
Lack of success which is failure. I’ve yet to meet someone who is comfortable with Failure.
Anxiety or Stress, which can and often does lead to panic attacks or depression etc
It creates a poor reputation of ourselves or the company we represent. Which can also lead to…Low Self-Esteem
What’s the opposite to procrastination…
Momentum. The momentum principle works on the fact that it takes almost 80% of effort to get started but ONLY 20% to keep going!
We’ve all heard the saying that it’s the first step that’s always the hardest. To assist you in the first step and to get the momentum going, use accountability. Tell as many people as possible, your partner, your family, friends and or colleagues. Ask them for advice and help, tell them what it is you want to achieve and get buy in from them for support.
To use an old cliché ‘How do you eat an elephant? …In small pieces’ Attack anything you want to achieve in small manageable steps, it’s the one sure fire way for you to not only achieve but over achieve. Most importantly you need to take action. No idea has ever made money without an action following the thought.
“If we are to be successful in anything we do we must first convert our idea(s) into energy and take the action required to make our dreams reality because even the greatest achievement was at first, and for a while… an idea”.
The Big List
Make a list at home or at work while walking about the house or office… Listing all the things that need to be…
Returned - Changed
Removed - Repaired
Cleaned - Altered
Replaced - Moved
Thrown out - Modified
Washed - Painted
De-cluttered - Waxed
Put away - Organised
Converted - Taken out
Re-modelled - Reorganised
Deleted - Finished
Purchased - Checked out
Now start to sort them out, do it one-by-one, don’t make the same mistake and try to do them all at once.
Given that you Procrastinate…
And you’ve decided you want to change or make some adjustment to your life, career etc…what would probably be the best time for YOU to start?
Within the next 10 days?
Within the next 30 days?
Within the next 3 months?
Within the next 12 months?
Make the decision, draw the metaphorical line in the sand and commit to it.
We can all come up with all sorts of excuses for not starting something…
I’m not in the mood, I’ll do it later, or I’m just lazy.
We’ve all heard them, and probably used most of them too. A mood won’t do anything for you; it’s your choice to accept the mood or to do something about it. Take the action. If you wait around for the ‘right’ mood you will probably never achieve what you want to achieve. If you brand yourself as lazy, you will only go further into bringing your mood down. Get started, it’s the only way you’ll get finished.
We've all been absorbed by procrastination at one time or another. For some, it's a constant problem. Others find that it affects only some areas of their lives. The net results, though, are usually the same - wasted time, missed opportunities, poor performance, self-criticism, or increased stress and anxiety.
Give yourself an opportunity to succeed; it’s ideal for setting goals or resolutions for Christmas, New Year, or simply the proverbial Monday resolution.
Not everybody needs it, but we could all do with it.
See you all next month, take care and stay strong.