TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3
II. SELF-EVALUATION …………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
III. PROCRASTINATION AT HOME …………………………………………………………………….. 13
IV PROCRASTINATION IN SCHOOL …………………………………………………………………. 19
V. PROCRASTINATION AT THE WORKPLACE ………………………………………………. 26
VI. PROCRASTINATION AND HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS………………………………. 38
VII. SELF IMPROVEMENT – A GENERAL SENSE OF WELLBEING ……………… 44
VIII. BONUS TIPS ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 52
IX. CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 61

101 Tips For Avoiding Procrastination - Banner

I. Introduction

On the back of the jacket of Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, this quotation caught our attention:  “The principles always work if you work the principles”.

Perhaps this is too simplistic a statement or merely echoes another familiar marketing “come-on”, but it does translate into a variation of the work ethic.  To us, this means doing instead of just thinking.

And doing is synonymous to action, execution, implementation, carrying out – all these convey the active mode as opposed to the passive mode of just thinking.

The human brain knows no limits when it comes to thinking out ways and strategies in dealing with all kinds of problems, but if these strategies and plans are NOT acted upon, they really hold no meaning – they’re like empty blueprints camouflaged in sparkling rhetoric.  And rhetoric comes cheap these days.

We’ve made up our minds to be less ambitious about this work, and called the 101 recommendations and suggestions contained in this book as simply TIPS.  Tips on how NOT to procrastinate.

Procrastination pervades every aspect of our lives.  And we’ve mastered it to perfection having learned a subtle form of it when we were babies.

We delayed falling asleep because our mothers wouldn’t cradle us in her arms.  We’ve procrastinated in performing our duties at home, in school, in the workplace, and in our most fragile human relationships.  We shudder to think what the final tally of lost hours will be because we procrastinated habitually.

Some of the tips we share here may be useful and some may be irrelevant.  Others will come in handy not necessarily today, but at a later stage of our lives.

Procrastination is an expensive habit.  We discovered that one of the ways that will not make us procrastinate is to figure out the dollar amount of something that was not done because of procrastination.

It all points to the generally accepted idea that time is money. This alone can serve as a strong motivator not to procrastinate again.  Or at least to try not procrastinate!

Jack Canfield quoted Brian Tracy to drive home the message:  “Life is like a combination lock; your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can have anything you want”.

We’d be lying if we told you that if you followed our 101 tips on how not to procrastinate, you can have anything you want.  It doesn’t work that way.

These tips are ideas that have come from our heads and from other people’s heads.  And it’s up to you to apply them in every segment of your daily routine.  Avoiding procrastination is more effective when we start with little steps.  It does not mean having to change our lives drastically.

But as one writer said, not procrastinating will make us appreciate the life we have now.  And as we build on the small steps, we’d be amazed at how much we can accomplish over the years.

In deciding not to procrastinate, you may want to accompany this determination with clear-cut and well-defined goals.

In other words, have a goal that is quantified, and not just qualified.

For example, saying “I will lose weight” is NOT as powerful as “I will lose 35 pounds in 1-1/2 years.”  These are concrete data you can work with.  “I will lose weight” sounds noble enough, but let’s count the ways, shall we?

II. Self-Evaluation

Tip # 1  Everything starts and ends with the self

If someone said to you that you were a procrastinator, your immediate reaction would be to defend yourself. “It’s his fault”, “My mother was like that too”, “I was forced to do something I didn’t want to do”.

Some people like to blame their misfortunes on others. But the truth is, you are equally at fault. You procrastinate because you yourself choose to procrastinate.  The sooner you accept that, the better you’ll be able to overcome procrastination.

Tip # 2      I want NOT to procrastinate anymore

In line with tip # 1 above, once you accept that procrastination is your weakness, the next step is to eliminate this weakness. Your desire not to procrastinate anymore should be sincere.  You need to demonstrate that determination through small daily gestures.

Tip # 3      Mea Culpa-Take Responsibility

You’ve accepted the fact that (a) you’re a procrastinator, and (b) you have a sincere desire to change.  Now tell yourself that if you fail to achieve a particular goal or a given task, it’s because you procrastinated. Mea culpa.  Admitting guilt is a giant step.  Note, however, that there is a huge difference between admitting guilt and being too hard on yourself.  Admitting guilt is taking ownership of your actions.  Being too hard on yourself is unjustified self-blame. Continue from where you left off.

Tip # 4      Ask: In what ways do I procrastinate?

Ask yourself, “In what ways do I procrastinate?”  Sit down with pen and paper.  Writing them will help you focus and identify them more clearly.  Here are some ways where people procrastinate:

  • paying bills
  • not discussing the complaints you’ve received about a member of your team for fear of hurting his/her feelings
  • repeatedly postponing a dental appointment because you’ve got better things to do
  • not returning the call of your son’s teacher because you know what the problem is and you’re fed up
  • not discussing your resentment about your husband spending too much time at work or with his buddies
  • not getting that haircut, that dress dry-cleaned, that donation mailed
  • not visiting a sick relative in the hospital
  • not telling your significant other you no longer love her/him
  • not calling your doctor about that persistent numbness in your right arm or not fixing a colonoscopy exam date
  • not having the car’s squeaking brakes checked
  • not going to confession because you never know what the priest’s schedule is
  • not sending that overdue thank you note or making that overdue call to your mother-in-law

Tip # 5      Goals not met because of procrastination

After listing the ways in which you procrastinate, make a second list of goals that you failed to achieve because you procrastinated.

Let’s take two typical examples:  you promised your editor you’d get that article done by a certain due date.  On the day the article was due, the editor calls you.  You tell her sheepishly that you didn’t have time to do it, and you say something like, “My son was sick for days and I couldn’t concentrate” knowing full well your editor was generous with a deadline date.

Result?  You took one step farther away from your goal of becoming a professional writer, and two steps farther away from developing a good relationship with an editor who picked you from the 25 writers who applied for the assignment.  You can be sure your name has been taken off her address list.

Second example:  you delayed lobbying for your colleague’s promotion even if he was the best man for the job.

Result?  The job went to someone less deserving; second, your colleague resigned to take up another offer.

When you measure the consequences of a missed opportunity because you procrastinated, ask if the consequence was worth the delay.

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