If your favorite phrase is “That is on my to-do list” or “I’m getting that done tomorrow,” you might have a problem with procrastination. By continually putting things off, you dramatically increase the chance that something will fall through the cracks.
At the very least, your to-do list may become so big that you burn out trying to play catch-up. Brian Tracy wrote a great book on procrastination titled Eat That Frog. But, just in case you are writing yourself a note to order that book online tomorrow, here are a few strategies you can adopt right now to start beating procrastination.
Admit that you have a problem. Stop trying to rationalize why you keep putting things off. Unless you’ve taken on an unreasonable amount of work, admitting you have a problem is the first step. Missing deadlines, forgetting obligations, and feeling overly stressed because you are always behind on tasks are signs that you have a problem with procrastination.
Determine what motivates you. What happens when you put things off? What happens when you finish tasks on time or even ahead of time? How do these two answers compare? I am sure there are many more positives for completing on time or working ahead. Focus on the rewards of getting tasks done, such as not taking work home, time to complete the job right the first time, the freedom to enjoy your personal life, not having to scramble at the last minute, and the positive feeling that comes from taking charge of your life.
Do a self-analysis. You know you are not lazy, so why are you continually putting things off? Are the tasks unpleasant, or are there other reasons? Maybe it is a task you do not feel qualified to complete. Maybe you are looking for a place to get started. Maybe you feel the need to do things perfectly, which makes a task even more difficult for you. Maybe you do not maximize your time and socialize a little too much. Maybe you are a daydreamer that is always thinking about other things besides right here and right now.
Once you discover why you procrastinate, you can begin to formulate a plan to overcome the impulse. Just don’t wait until tomorrow to get started!