Have you ever started out to work on something you’re not looking forward to, like your taxes and found yourself flipping through and organizing a stack of papers that you’ve been meaning to get to for ages?
If you recognize yourself in any of these statements, you’re not alone. According to a Psychology Today article, In a 1991 published study (Ferrari, 1991a) “20 percent of adult women and men self-identify as “chronic procrastinators,” meaning they purposely delay tasks at home, school, work, in relationships, appointments. This style is their lifestyle”
The worst part is how we feel when we’re procrastinating. We’re often very aware that we’re procrastinating and as a result may begin to feel anxious or fearful. Sounds crazy right? We know we’re procrastinating, we then feel yucky about it and yet, we continue to procrastinate!
Worst of all, if you consider the ramifications of procrastinating, they are seldom positive.
My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.
Let’s review the examples above and look at only one potential cost of each by NOT :
As you can see, the costs are intangible and tangible but they take a toll, either on your finances, relationships, reputation or stress level. So why do we let this vicious cycle repeat itself?
Our brains evolved to zero in on “clear and present danger” via the well-known fight-or-flight response to a threat. But in the absence of an immediate physical threat to our lives, our brains are easily distracted. That’s why when you sit down to do your taxes, your attention wanders with every passing noise, thought, or physical sensation.
Someday is not a day of the week.
Do you think you’re a procrastinator? The Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California has a pdf version of a self-assessment based on 20 questions each on a 3-point scale: not me, somewhat like me, or like me. You can go to it by clicking here.
What costs of procrastination have you observed in yourself or others?
Have you overcome procrastination? If so, how?
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