So, we’re not talking rocket science here, right? Surely most would agree that procrastination is not only a seriously tough dude, but also ugly, mean, and nasty. Barring you from your goals and slowly killing your dreams, it can do all kinds of shorter-term damage as well, unless you recognize its power and potential destructiveness.
Purely out of self-defense, then, we should be aware of some of the ploys this bully uses to keep us from moving ahead. Here are a few of the usual suspects:
• Don’t-do-it (plus its two siblings)
• All-or-nothing syndrome
Prime procrastination enablers, the don’t-do-its (DDIs), can't-do-its (CDIs), and shouldn't-do-its (SDIs) tend to kick
in when we’re thinking about doing something new or a little risky or
even just different. Such power can these wet blankets unleash that, if you
allow it to happen yourself, they could hold you back indefinitely. If that’s
not how you want your life to be, click on the link for a discussion of those
particular hazards: the first step. Perhaps you'll find some food for thought there.
you may not take the all-or-nothing approach to tasks and projects, if you do tend to get mired in this bog, it
would likely be because you prefer not to begin anything you
can’t finish that hour or that day or at least PDQ.
I think we’d all agree that finishing things is good (unless you slop
through just to get them done). However, when you set a rigid time frame
for your projects, you may find yourself
procrastinating indefinitely on those requiring a more-flexible deadline
and/or approach. A classic standoff, it
may also send some flak in your direction from Significant
Others, bosses, co-workers, fellow volunteers, etc.
this entry in the procrastination sweepstakes, we move into slightly
different waters. In fact, for many, perfectionism may not have that powerful an
effect upon whether or not they begin something. But it can make
almost impossible for some of us, as a tinkering habit can
nail projects right to the ground. And there they stay, vainly spinning
until someone finally pulls the plug.
If that kind of thing tends to happen to you now and then, see if you can "just say no" to the tinkering urge and actually mean it. And I'm not suggesting that it will be easy, because it likely won't, but I am suggesting that it will be worth the effort.
A final (cautionary) word here:
just because you procrastinate doesn’t mean there’s something wrong
with you. At the starting point, as well as along the way, people often
choke for any of the above reasons and/or simple force of habit, lack of
support, and related blocks.
If something continually holds you back, perhaps you could give some thought to why. Even if the answer(s) dismay or discourage you at first, at least you’ll know. Then, should you choose, you can take remedial measures.
Meanwhile, though, do what you can where you are and with whatever you have at hand or can get hold of...to paraphrase some great advice from Teddy Roosevelt. Here and now are right in front of us, but they tend to slip away quickly. So, we need to grab them while we can, because many of us no longer have decades to accomplish the needful or the "wantful." Now, we'll benefit most from using our time in focused ways.
BTW, focused ways can also mean fun ways, so even as you work through the essentials yourself, remember that all work and no play can make us not only "dull girls" but also rebellious and grouchy. So, instead of plunging into that trap, take care of business in a timely manner, and also leave some room for fun. After all, who deserves it more than you?
For a lighter take on procrastination, you might read some material by the philosopher John Perry.