Experts on procastination

22 Nov, 2014 Productivity

I read an article about two of the world’s leading experts in procrastination. One was from the DePaul University and the other one from Carlton University, and I read a really interesting article talking about there’s so many ways to avoid success in life. The most sure fire way to totally avoid success is to procrastinate, because procrastinators sabotage themselves. They pull obstacles in their own path. They actually chose paths that could hurt their performance.

Have you ever sabotaged yourself? Have you ever been in a dating situation where maybe it was the perfect person for you, but you find ways to sabotage? Or possibly, sabotaging by maybe not getting your taxes in on time, or maybe not following up so you didn’t get the job. Here’s an interesting fact.

Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. Now, a chronic procrastinator may not be like you, or it could belike many of you. But, for these people, this 20%, their procrastination is a lifestyle. So basically, it covers all aspects of their life, not just one area. Maybe these are the people that don’t pay their bills on time, or maybe they don’t show up for work on time. They miss opportunities. Maybe they don’t file their taxes on time. These are the people you see on Christmas Eve in the stores just starting their shopping, because they procrastinated to the last minute.

Now, I thought that was really interesting that it’s only 20%. The rest of us are the 80% that it’s probably not a big medical reason. More or less, it’s an excuse. That’s what it pretty much boils down to.

Procrastination is also not a problem of time management or planning. I talk to so many people in my coaching practice that think, “Well, if I could just better manage my time, then I would get more done.” Not necessarily. Procrastinators are different in their ability to estimate time. We’re usually a little bit more optimistic.

We think we’re going to be able to get more done in less time. A great example would be telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling somebody with chronic depression to just cheer up. It’s a little bit more difficult than that. Just having a checklist doesn’t mean us procrastinators are going to get it done.

But, procrastinators are not born. None of us were born to have the ability to put things off, to put our dreams off, to stop thinking about what we really, really want and focusing on just the day-to-day emails or Facebook, or things that are just always in our face. Procrastination is learned. It may be learned in the family. It may be learned in all different parts of life, but it is learned.

Some people procrastinate because they either need a rush, that exhilaration. Some feel paralyzed by perfectionism. How many of you have a book idea but you feel paralyzed because you think, “Gosh, where do I start,” or, “I really want to start a business, but what if I fail.” And then others just simply don’t want to do the task. So, there’s chronic procrastination’s like we talked about. Those folks, the 20%, they may need that behavioral therapy to help them. But us other 80% really just need some tips.


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