Jan 292013

Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill. ~ Christopher Parker

overcoming procrastination

Procrastination is a typical human quirk that everyone can relate to. Most people procrastinate, including myself, and it’s one of the main causes of stagnation in personal development. Knowing what procrastination essentially is brings us closer to understanding ourselves and overcoming it. It takes a bit of courage, but the rewards are not to be missed out on.

Why people procrastinate

It’s not a coincidence that many motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins talk about this subject a lot. One of the first exercises he gives you is to get small things done you’ve been laying off for a while. I’m convinced that there is a correlation between procrastination and personal success. As obvious as that may sound, it’s important to realize that we often make up excuses to be at peace with ourselves procrastinating stuff. Sometimes we do other things instead, so we can feel good about having done at least something else (like cleaning your room).

In order to grow personally the first step is to go through the discomfort of awareness. All the possible reasons for procrastinating are false. Growth happens through doing, not by taking your time to get ready and ending up not doing. I feel that the things we procrastinate the most are the things that need our highest priority. The only reason why people procrastinate is the fear of discomfort. It’s avoiding confrontation in fear of getting uncomfortable.

The hidden price tag

Procrastination comes with a hidden price tag. At the end of the day our most precious resource is time. When we procrastinate we spend the most precious resource and trade it for something that’s essentially worthless. That’s a perfect example of doing bad business with yourself. It’s literally selling yourself short, but the effects can only be felt at a later stage. In realizing this we’re one step ahead of ourselves, so we can make a conscious decision about how we spend our time right now.

You can look around to see the result of not taking that responsibility; many people are not living up to themselves. Everyone is blessed with a talent, but few actually do something with it. In fact, one doesn’t even need talent in order to be successful, because it’s primarily work and dedication that wins it. Some people get bored because they don’t know what to do with their lives; it’s the worst kind of poverty one can fall into.

Guide yourself

Whatever it is that we procrastinate is different for each and every person. For some people it’s about starting up their own business, while for others it’s about making time for themselves or their family. Knowing yourself by taking an honest look inside is instrumental in discovering where your biggest challenge and purpose lies. With that knowledge it will be much easier to overcome procrastination, because you’ll have a deep-rooted motivation.

Knowing what you truly want and being concrete about it is vital to fuel your inner motivation to start acting. Many people think they want something, but aren’t prepared to do what it takes. However, everything you want that is currently not present in your life is something you can only find outside of your comfort zone. Lining up your deepest desires is a necessary step in guiding yourself towards the life that you want.

The irony is that once we act and leave the mind space, things are actually not all that bad. I remember getting things done that I had procrastinated for real long in record time. It made me wonder if I were to be that effective all the time there’d be virtually no limit to what can be achieved. In addition, getting things done gives your mind clarity of thought and creates a flow that propels you to even more personal excellence.

In conclusion

What we procrastinate resembles the areas in our lives that need the most urgent attention. By taking on this challenge we’re taking the shortest route to personal growth and achievement. At the end of the day you’ll be able to look back in fulfilment and thank yourself for making a conscious and wise decision.

What have you been procrastinating? Do something you’ve been wanting to do right now and share your experience!

  2 Responses to “Overcoming Procrastination”

  1. You’ve brought up some good points, but I (most respectfully) disagree. :D

    You see, procrastination is not the real problem. It’s a symptom of a larger issue. We procrastinate on things we don’t want to do, for example cleaning, work/homework, exercising, and so on. What does this say about the activities we’re procrastinating on? That we don’t enjoy them.

    Now we’ve found the real issue: that we don’t like whatever it is we’re putting off. The solution is not to make ourselves do it. The solution is to either find a way to help ourselves begin to enjoy the activity, or to stop doing it entirely.

    Here’s an article that delves deeper into the subject: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2010/06/how-to-fall-in-love-with-procrastination/

    I’m not trying to undermine your viewpoints in any way, but rather to simply share some other perspectives and hopefully shed some light on the other side of the issue. :)

    - Patrick

    • That’s a good point Patrick. I read the article and he does address an important point that I’ve only covered briefly, which is about being honest with yourself and looking inside to find purpose. Steve procrastinated on things that he really didn’t want to do, but did take action on the things he loved.

      However, people often also procrastinate on the things they love. Steve is a free spirit, but many people do take this educational path, turn it into a job and that’s it then. Maybe along the road they become bored or frustrated with the job, but procrastinate their real desires for fear of discomfort. This is the point I’m addressing in my article.

      I hated school and I’d never tell anyone to ‘not procrastinate’ on things they loathe deep inside. By all means, do what you feel in your heart, but don’t conform to the status quo.

      Taking time for yourself is a universally important thing. Cleaning your house is part of that, because it’s taking care of your own living space. Exercise is also important, but it can be done in so many ways; you just have to find something you enjoy doing. I myself love to train. In the rare occasion that I didn’t feel like and had an urge to procrastinate I still went with it and was happy afterwards.

      What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between being disconnected from your true desires and procrastinating the real important things in your life. We all have moments of weakness, but by strengthening the heart connection and empowering ourselves to take action in the here and now we can face our biggest challenges and grow.

      Thanks for your feedback! :)

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