Knocking Out Procrastination

Procrastination Is Not Your Friend

"I know what to do. I recognize the benefits of doing it. I understand the negative consequences of not doing it. I have the competence and resources to do it. But I still don't do it."

Does this story sound very familiar?

I am sure you will agree with me that we all encounter postponements that keep us from doing what is critical for our success. We cannot always control what happens to us but we can always exercise control over how it will impact us. We do not have to let delays defeat us. We don't have to give into these energy suckers and become a victim of procrastination.

Why should we leave ourselves at the mercy of 'The Guilt of the Incomplete'? But first the question arises, why do we do that?

WHY DO WE Procrastinate?

Before we discover a treatment for this universal disease, 'procrastination', let us look at some of the reasons behind it.

  1. Waiting for the right mood
    You don't feel like doing it. Your mood is o_ and you are emotionally down.

  2. Waiting for the right time
    You don't think that it is the right time to take action, when actually it is.

  3. Lack of clear goals
    How can you feel inclined to do it when the goal is not clear?

  4. Underestimating the difficulty of the task
    You thought doing it was no big deal, but when you started you realized that you would have to put in much more effort than you first thought. So why not postpone it for now?

  5. Unclear standards for the task outcomes
    You started but did not have an idea about exactly what was expected. You did not know the performance criteria.

  6. Feeling the task is imposed on you
    When you think you have to do it, your motivation is reduced. Your heart and mind are not fully involved.

  7. The task is too ambiguous
    You finally got around to doing it but the task was too vague, unclear and blurred. Then you did not find good reason to continue.

  8. Fear
    'I don't think I can do it; if I go ahead I will not succeed.'

  9. Perfectionism
    'I don't have the right skills or resources to do this perfectly, so I won't do it at all.'

After acquiring all the tools, techniques and strategies, why do people not put into use what they know? Why do people choose inaction instead of taking action? We have identified some psychological fears. These fears suppress your inventiveness; your talents and resources remain hidden, undeveloped and untapped. These fears include:

  1. Fear of failure
    If I were unsuccessful, how would I handle the embarrassment? It's better not to show up for this presentation. Let's procrastinate.

  2. Fear of success
    If I do it this time, people will expect me to do it again. Will I be able to handle the pressure that comes with success?

  3. Fear of the status quo
    If the status quo is disturbed, who knows how the new situation will turn out? Let's maintain things as they are. Why take a risk?

  4. Fear of perfection
    If I started it now, I would not complete it until I achieved a level of perfection. Do I have time for perfection?

  5. Fear of loss
    If I did it now, I might end up losing out on a few things.

How would you recognize in yourself the symptoms of procrastination?

  • Filling your day with low priority tasks from your To Do list

  • Reading an e-mail more than once, without starting work on it

  • Starting work on a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make yourself a cup of coffee or check your e-mails

  • Leaving an item on your To Do list undone for a long time, even though you know it's important

  • Regularly saying 'Yes' and filling up your time with unimportant tasks
Why you procrastinate can depend on both you and the task. They can often be reduced to two main reasons:

  1. You find the task unpleasant; or

  2. You find the task overwhelming
Now that you know the symptoms and reasons for procrastinating, the question is how do you crush procrastination? How do you knock it out?

ANTI-Procrastination FORMULA

The 'taal-matool' attitude or syndrome has the potential to negatively impact your results, success and even your entire life. I have created a strategy to defeat procrastination and build results faster.

I call it the IMAN TECHNIQUE.

M ust
A ct

So, are you ready to act now?

Copyright 2011 Qaiser Abbas
Qaiser Abbas is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, high-energy trainer and successful entrepreneur. He is the founder and Chief Inspiring Officer of Possibilities, a leading Management Training & Consulting Company, operating internationally with the head office in Pakistan. Some of his key clients include P&G, Motorola, Gillette, ORIX, OMV, Reckitt Benckiser, Mobilink, Coca Cola, FMC, Nokia-Siemens, ICI, Ufone and Unilever.

Qaiser is a regular columnist in various nationwide magazines and newspapers and ranked among the best motivational writers of Pakistan.

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Stories / Articles 2011