I love that quote, I love it so much that I keep it in a frame above my desk right in front of my eyes and it is directly responsible for the massive turnaround in the amount of work I get done, try it it honestly works.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is a habit. It’s not a one-off. It’s your default course of inaction.
You reinforce the habit of procrastination anytime something crosses your desk, and even though it would be comparatively easy to do sooner, you decide to put it off. Maybe you don’t feel like doing it right now, not because you have a pressing deadline, but mainly because you don’t.
Procrastination also occurs when you plan to do something, and then when the time comes, you decide not to do it then either. It can be true of anything; not just things at work. It could be losing weight, starting (or continuing) an exercise programme, reading a book instead of watching telly, or going to bed earlier. No doubt you can think of a myriad of other examples that are true in your own life.
In this article, I’m going to consider habits that you may have, all of which result in putting off what you should do now for another, usually unspecified, time.
They’re not in any particular order. Rather than thinking of some as being worse than others, instead, consider them all to be bad habits.
You’ll achieve more in the future if you view them that way.
Hard tasks and activities, and difficult conversations.
The first bad habit to mention is that of putting off hard tasks and activities, and difficult conversations.
Human beings naturally look for the easiest way to do anything. That in itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, we have a name for it: efficiency. We want to make the best use of our time and resources, and we have to in any case because we don’t have an unlimited supply of either.
The thing is that you can’t substitute effectiveness for efficiency. You can’t choose what’s easy or avoid that which is unpleasant if doing what’s hard is what’s needed.
And that’s where the problem lies.
You see, if you make a habit of avoiding effectiveness, the only thing that will happen as a result is that you’ll become more ineffective.
The Internet. Can’t live with it. Can’t live without it.
There are times when you’d probably like to unplug yourself from it. Short of cables being cut on the ocean floor, it won’t happen. How do you feel when there’s a system upgrade, implemented by your friendly IT department or operating system, and you can’t get your computer to work properly?
Or how do you feel when for some reason you are prevented from accessing the Web?
Are you elated? Jumping for joy because now someone won’t be emailing you every five seconds?
Not a bit of it. You go into a tailspin. It’s panic-stations. And you know it.
Now the thing is that when you get a little dip in your energy, or you’re interrupted, or maybe you just get a coffee, when you sit at your desk, you may wonder what the football scores are, or what the weather will be like this weekend, or where the weather might be nicer than it is here.
And so you open a new tab to find out; and while you’re checking that, you see a link to something else. Maybe it’s an advert for a holiday abroad, and as you’re checking the weather anyway, it makes sense to see what the prices are, after all – there’s a special deal on. Maybe you could get away for a few days.
And, oh look, the beaches are lovely, the sun is shining . . . you get the idea.
The best websites make it easy for us to become distracted. That’s what good navigation looks like. And you’ll get sucked into it every time if you don’t avoid it in the first place. This habit is fairly easy to break. There are numerous free tools available online that let you block certain websites or even prevent you from surfing the web.
The question is, do you have the courage to use them, or are you still convinced that you have the self-control to avoid them?
Perfectionism, another bad habit that reinforces your procrastination is perfectionism. Maybe you never thought of it like this. Perfectionism is the unwillingness to stop working on anything because it’s not as good as it could be.
Now here’s the thing.
What’s perfect to you isn’t perfect to others. What’s perfect to you probably isn’t even important to others. And what’s perfect to you doesn’t matter because if it’s perfect now, then it won’t be in five minutes. Why? Because nothing stands still.
If the Total Quality Movement taught us anything it was that total quality was a waste of money and a waste of time. High quality is one thing. Total quality is quite another.
Does it make sense to spend four times as much time and money to achieve only 20% of your results?
Of course not.
But that’s what perfectionism looks like.
Indecision is procrastination. It’s the fear of doing the wrong thing. There seems to be this crazy idea that good people never change their minds. That’s rubbish.
Good people make decisions based on the information they have at the time and, when they get better information, they change their minds if that’s the smartest thing to do.
Procrastinators stick with their original decisions regardless of any new information they receive.
If you’re trying to decide what to do and all of your choices seem to share an equal amount of benefit and risk, then it doesn’t matter which one you choose. This may sound irresponsible, but just choose the first one, or flip a coin, or throw a dart at it.
Indecision is a decision. It’s a decision to do nothing; to leave things as they are.
Make your choice and, if you get better information, then act in light of it..
The next bad habit that so many people have, and which is a form of procrastination, is the unwillingness to change.
Have you ever heard this: “This is the way we’ve always done it” or “This is how we do things”.
If that’s what you say, then what you mean is that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
If that’s your belief, then you’re already in trouble.
The truth is that it’s always broken, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. And your habit of refusing to update your equipment, software and / or methods will put you further and further behind. It will make it harder and more expensive to change when you’re finally forced to do so.
It’s unreasonable to expect that you can do things the way you’ve always done them and simultaneously become an innovator .
In other words, you have to practice what you preach.
So there you have it.
bad habits that reinforce your propensity to procrastinate. Procrastination costs you in productivity. When you’re less productive, everything is more expensive. It takes you longer to create and longer to deliver. It uses more time to do your administration. It adds cost to what you sell, and that makes you less competitive.
Create a plan for breaking this bad habit then execute it.
Become your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy!
What are you waiting for ?
Let today be the day that you change things round ! Let today be the day that motivation becomes the assassination of procrastination.
Let today be the beginning of you being the best version of you that you can be !