Friday 6 August 2010

Procrastinate? Maybe Later...

Hello David,

Regarding your comment about procrastination, I thought I'd send you some thoughts which you may find helpful.

Firstly, a paradigm shift:

It's human nature to lament what we don't like.
It's NOT natural, but far more useful,
to look at how to improve it.

I'm guessing you want to remove your procrastination, and so it's worth analysing why it happens.

Usually, a lack of willingness to invest effort in something is caused by a combination of a few factors:

  • You hate doing the thing you're avoiding
  • You don't know how to do that thing, or see yourself as being bad at it
  • Doing it violates a (possibly hidden) belief
  • You are afraid of some aspect of doing that thing - or of what happens when it's done
  • You don't buy in to the goals which doing that thing will deliver
So a useful first step is to analyse your thinking around your procrastination and to see how these factors relate to it and to eachother. Get really specific and fact-based. So, for example, don't say "I always procrastinate", because it's an over-simplification which loses valuable information. If you procrastinate about lots of things - just pick one to analyse. Choose the one which has the biggest negative impact on your life. Let's say you chose:

"I often avoid doing the monthly accounts"

Now you can look again at the checklist above, and ask yourself why. Do you hate doing them? Do you always struggle to do them well - or suspect you never get them completely right? Do you feel you should really have an underling to do them? Or do you hate "wasting your money on government spending fiascos"? Do you worry that when done, the account will prove you insolvent or a "failure" in some way? I hope you get the idea. When you complete this analysis, you'll know some really useful things about your procrastination, and that's a solid foundation on which to build your escape strategy.

But if you don't do this [or decide to do it ... later :o) ], then - well - you're still trapped in your procrastination mindset.

There are quite a few self help articles on my website which it may be worth your while exploring - or my book - which contains the best ones and more.

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