Dr. Carol-Anne Minski

Dr. Carol-Anne Minski

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”

― Mark Twain

If you google the word procrastination, first thing you will find is a non-judgmental definition: “the action of delaying or postponing something.” However, if you continue to read you will find the Merriam-Webster definition: “to be slow or late about doing something that should be done: to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.”

That is the problem with the P word. Now it is all your fault! You’re lazy or don’t want to do it. I get stuck there, don’t you? I feel trapped. I am not sure I want to admit that I do not want to do it. And I sure as heck do not want to let someone know my real thoughts about not doing what they may think is important.

Now I already know that you are not lazy. Are you really procrastinating because you do not want to do it or because you do not know how to do it? Let’s look at the true meaning of your procrastination. Read this statement and fill in the blank: I am NOT doing this task because _________________.

So, what is your excuse for your personal procrastination? Perhaps you are not in the mood. Have you ever said that to yourself? If that is the case, you need to define what would put you in the mood. Say you are putting off a creative writing project. What are some potential reasons and how could you overcome those obstacles? Is it because you need a morning time slot when you have the most focus? Or are you creative late at night? Then it becomes more of a matter of scheduling time. What if you say you want to write a book, but your office is too messy?

Generate a list of things you need to accomplish first to knock out the excuse of a messy office. Do you need to remove old paperwork, find a better filing system, physically move your computer, or find a new designated writing place outside of your office?

Once you see what you need to do, you can tackle the task because you want to and because you know how to. This clarity will make a difference.

What other suggestions can you derive to eliminate the P Word from your vocabulary? Go through the items on your list that cause you to procrastinate and ask yourself WHY. Then come up with solutions to overcome that WHY reason. If you are working with a larger project, break it into smaller steps and use rewards as you make progress. Rewards can be as simple as a cup of coffee or a social outing with a friend. Another good idea for larger projects is to ask someone that you trust to accept periodic updates on your success. Ask this person to hold you accountable.

If you continue to procrastinate about the same task over and over, it may be time to find something else to do that holds your interest! Or maybe the very task that is causing you such anxiety is not even necessary for you to do. Can you or your business function perfectly well without doing that project? Is this something that can be eliminated or put off to another day? Perhaps that is why you are not completing the task. If it really is low on the priority list, maybe you should wait until the day after tomorrow to complete that task. You are not lazy after all!

Dr. Carol-Anne Minski works with business leaders and companies seeking ways to significantly increase their organizational performance. She helps leaders raise the bar and maximize performance. Carol-Anne is author of "Focus! Get What You Want Out of Life” and the “Focus! Planning Journal.” For more information, visit www.focuswithdrc.com/media/.

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