Have you procrastinated on anything this year? If you said yes, you are in the majority. Research suggests that 95% of the population procrastinates from time to time with 20% being chronic procrastinators. It should come as no surprise that as a society, we tend to not finish things we say we want to complete. We simply don’t have the time to do everything on our ‘to do’ list during the Holiday Season.
However, making procrastination a time management problem will not help us win in all areas of our life. A better way to overcome procrastination and finish what you start is to change what it means to procrastinate. If you tell yourself the reason for not finishing something is because you didn’t have enough time to do it right, you’re not sure what actions to take, or you’re too busy with other priorities, you’ll have a long list of good excuses and a short list of positive results.
To break the procrastination habit, make not keeping your word to yourself or others a violation of something you value. For example, if you are a hard worker and would never want others to think you are being lazy, the next time you consider not finishing something you wanted to complete, reflect on the definition of procrastination from the American Heritage Dictionary, “To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness; to put off intentionally doing something that should be done.”
By simply changing what it means for you to procrastinate, two things happen. One–you will make fewer promises to yourself and others. As a result, you will stop being insanely busy doing low-payoff work because you will start saying no more often. And second–you will be more productive because you have a greater sense of urgency to finish the projects you start. No one wants to be known as a habitually careless or lazy person who intentionally puts off doing something that should be done.
2015 is coming to a close, but it’s not over yet. What’s one thing you want to accomplish before the end of the year that you know you can finish? What can you start doing or stop doing today that will help you get closer to your finish line?
Over 200 years ago, the German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Are you ready to add “Finish Strong” to his words of wisdom?
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin