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May 22, 2008

Are You A Procrastinator?

By Alicia Sorocco

At some point or another, we’ve all done it. The reasons why are aplenty, but there’s no doubt that we’ve all put off till tomorrow what could be done today. What prompts this behavior? Is it simply because we can’t be bothered? Well, maybe, but there are other reasons behind our consistent postponement of the things that need to get done.

So why do you keep putting off your daily duties? Well, the reasons may surprise you.

Why you procrastinate reason #1
Tasks are unpleasant
If you have to clean out the cat litter or call up the cable company for weird charges to your bill, it’s obvious that neither is going to be fun. So there’s a good chance that you’ll avoid getting them done for as long as you can.

Resolution: If you go into such tasks with a good attitude (“I love my cat so much, she’s adorable,” and “Let’s see which customer service rep is going to make my day today.”), there’s a good chance you’ll come out of them without feeling like you never want to go through that again.

Why you procrastinate reason #2
Tasks are difficult
Whether it’s writing an article that requires a boatload of research or building a dog house, the idea of getting started sucks the wind right out of you simply because the task is huge in its entirety.

Resolution: Break the project down into pieces and, if necessary, delegate. When you turn a huge task into a bunch of smaller ones, you’ll find that you get more done in less time. As well, if someone happens to be around when you’re ready to go, ask for their help.

Why you procrastinate reason #3
Fear of making the wrong decision
Sometimes, the best way to avoid blame or regret is by avoiding the decision-making process entirely. Unfortunately, you will have to make a decision at some point. Let’s get on that today, shall we?

Resolution: Give yourself a deadline and tell someone about it; someone who will rag on you if you don’t follow through. That way, you’ll feel obligated to make a decision and be done with it.

Why you procrastinate reason #4
You’re just lazy

This one is probably the most difficult reasons to overcome. If you just don’t have the motivation in you, it is up to you to discipline yourself because you’re the only person you should always be able to depend on.

Resolution: The only way to change this potentially crippling behavior is by promising yourself a reward once it’s complete. The thing is, you cannot, under any circumstance, reward yourself if you don’t accomplish your goal.

You can also tell others of your intentions to get something done; that way, you’ll feel anxious about not getting it done after having told the world that you would.

Why you procrastinate reason #5
It’s never perfect enough
You, like most of us, are mildly neurotic. No matter how hard you work at projects, you feel as though they’re never completed to perfection. So, rather than break your head trying to perfect it, you give up altogether.

Resolution: At some point, you’re going to figure out, that not everything can be perfect because perfect is a relative term. As long as you do your best and try your hardest, you can’t demand more than that of yourself. Show your accomplishment to others (at the point when you start sweating the small stuff) and get their opinions. There’s a strong chance that they’ll be impressed by what you’ve done.

Why you procrastinate reason #6
You hate your boss

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that working hard so that a person you really hate can make a bigger salary sucks eggs. And if you’re in a situation where you only want to work the bare minimum so that you don’t get fired, you really need to reevaluate your professional situation.

Resolution: In this particular situation, procrastination is less of habit and more of a vengeful tactic. You have two choices: 1) Begin actively seeking other employment; or, 2) Resolve your issues with your boss.

Why you procrastinate reason #7
You have adult ADD
Focusing your attention on one thing for an extended period of time is almost impossible. If it’s not the lure of Internet gossip sites that distract you, it’s Jane from accounting who comes strolling in to tell you about the latest love affair on the sixth floor. You just can’t make yourself pay attention to the task at hand.

Resolution: If you have an office, close your door. If you work in a cubicle, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on top of your computer. It’s okay to let distractions take over every once in awhile, but you shouldn’t use them to avoid getting your work done.

Create a list of small tasks to complete each day and make sure that you accomplish them each day. That way, you will have a sense of satisfaction in knowing that you’re not letting your distractions take up the majority of your day.

Stop putting things off

It’s easy to wait until the very last minute to get things done, but that will only lead to more stress in your life, and God knows we all have enough of that already.

Make time to get the things you don’t take pleasure in out of the way so that you have more time to enjoy the things you love doing.

Otherwise, you might wake up one day and discover that you’re 60 years old with nothing to show for it. It’s all up to you.

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