From Procrastination to Productivity

“ Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday ” – Napolean Hill, American Author

One bad habit prevents becoming a success more than all of the other harmful habits combined: Procrastination.

Procrastination is simply putting really important things off, telling yourself that you will do it later or tomorrow. But the problem is that often “tomorrow” never happens.

Success comes from doing the really important things that are critical to obtaining results. We rarely procrastinate about the unimportant things!

We all suffer from procrastination at one time or another. We all get sucked into doing low priority tasks (like answering email or rearranging our desk) when we should be focusing our time on more important projects (like the budget forcast report for the department that you manage).

We engage in this bad habit when: (1) things are difficult; (2) the task involves things that are unpleasant; or (3) the task can lead to making a tough decision. Rather than stretch and grow, we hide our head in the sand and retreat to something easier, more fun, or mindless.

But, the original problem remains and NOW MAY BE BIGGER because we did not take care of it when we had the prime opportunity. Procrastination creates a vicious cycle of events and often leads to more procrastination.

What’s a good, well-intentioned executive to do?

Steps you can take to tame the procrastination monster:

(1) Admit when you are procrastinating.
(2) Determine why you are procrastinating (Does it involve an complex task? Does it feel overwhelming?)
(3) Do a “micro-action”- a baby step to get you moving in the direction of completing the task. Do you procrasitnate about exercising? Put your exercise clothes next to your bed (fireman style) so you can get up and jump into them in the morning.
(4) Do a small portion of the task (a chunk) that will get you moving in the right direction.
(5) Once you get moving- keep moving!
(6) Reward yourself for a job well done. You deserve it!

Procrastination is really a bad habit that we want to change. Make a commitment to take action for 21 days, the length of time it takes to create your new habit- moving forward. Your stress levels will decrease. You will be focused and clear-thinking because you have minimized your distractions.

There now, aren’t you glad that you took that first step toward productivity!

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