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To Procrastinate or not, that is the Question Article

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To Procrastinate or not, that is the Question

By Michaela Scherr

Procrastinating can be fun, sometimes! It can also be a great source of frustration and anxiety when we keep putting off what we could be doing today.
I manage to fit unscheduled shopping sprees into my already busy timetable, visit people I haven’t seen for awhile or give them a ‘quick’ phone call. Sometimes I’ll even clean out the refrigerator, wardrobe, and any closet or room in the house - well they need cleaning and sorting sooner or later! If I had a dog I’d probably take it for a long walk, maybe give it a bath, clip its toenails, place ribbons in its hair – procrastinating can be fun!

The word procrastinates means to defer action, or put off (I’ll add dawdle and ‘hope it goes away’ as well). What’s interesting is the cras (adv) in procrastinator is the Latin word for tomorrow. To me this snippet of information means procrastinators have been around for a really, really, really long time! Wonder what strategies they applied back then.

When I drag my feet, and keep putting something off, at the back of my mind is a flicker of hope that someone else will step in and do for me what I’d rather not (like my accounting paperwork!).

There are many, many reasons someone procrastinates and also varying levels. What lies beneath could be a fear of failure or fear of success, have no idea how to start or finish a project, in a state of overwhelm, depression, seems pointless, not motivated, or maybe just maybe laziness.

What happens when you know there’s something you really should be doing instead of cleaning out the refrigerator again? Maybe an assignment’s due, bills are overdue, and filing needs to be done urgently because you can’t see your desk anymore. My guess is your frustration and 'stressometer' starts rising rapidly.

Now would be a pretty good time to sit down and ask yourself some serious questions such as the ones below:

How can I better organise myself to get things done?

What’s in it for me? What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

What will I lose if I complete what I need to? Could be stress levels!

What will I gain if I complete what I need to? This could be in the form of free time, peacefulness; banish forever what you have to complete. Maybe your gain will be a special purchase – much like presenting yourself with a prize!

How important is this really to me? For example how important is paying your electricity bill? If you do not pay your electricity bill your power will be cut off. On the other hand you might have 3 things that need to be done first as a matter of priority.

Is the reason I drag my feet due to a ‘who cares’ attitude? Can I delegate this project (there’s that glimmer of hope again) to someone else?

Do you actually know what you need to do? Seriously, maybe the process is unclear on how to start or finish whatever it is that needs to be done.

When you’ve done that, break down what needs to be done to the smallest denominator and work your way up from there. Sometimes we think about ALL the things that need to be done which in turn overwhelms us. Start really, really small and work your way up by taking baby steps. Be in the present moment totally.

A life long habit that’s ready for change takes commitment, action, as well as time and effort.

By initially answering a few simple questions much like the ones above will help start that ball rolling towards greater clarity about what gets done and what doesn’t, and is this okay. Maybe the outcome is to work on procrastination at a much deeper level and pursue some professional help.

Michaela is the author of several e-books and publisher of a monthly newsletter called From My Desk.

You can find out what her website offers at www.michaelascherr.com

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