Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Do you procrastinate?

There are at least three kinds of people when it comes to getting things done.

The first type starts holiday shopping the day after the previous year’s holiday is over.

These far-thinking folks simply adore post-holiday sales and relish getting greeting cards at half price.

They are not the procrastinators. I call them the Precrastinators.

They like to get things done long before they are due.

The rest of us smile indulgently as they jump the gun in our opinion. But we also envy them for their foresight.

We secretly know they are onto something that makes a lot of sense.

The second group manages to get things done more or less on time with varying degrees of urgency and stress. They finish their shopping sometime in December in time to enjoy a relaxed holiday with their families.

These are theGet-It-Done-In-Timers and most of us fall in this category.

The third group is of course, the Procrastinators.

Holidays are particularly troublesome for them. They are the sad souls you’ll see frantically looking for the perfect gift at any store that they can find open late on December 24th.

Procrastinators don’t even think about doing anything until it is almost too late.

All of us have some procrastination tendencies.

But the true Procrastinator makes it a lifestyle.

A subset of this group might be called Postcrastinators.

They are so deeply into the procrastination habit that they simply ignore deadlines and due dates.

They are apt to gift-wrap an "I-O-U a- Present" card as to show up with a present.

If the motto of the Precrastinator is "never put off till tomorrow anything you can do today",
the Postcrastinator’s battlecry is a variation of the old Nike slogan, "Just do it."

Only for them is "Just don’t do it. Maybe it will go away."

What category do you belong to?

It’s easy to figure it out, especially around the holidays.

Try this foolproof test. Askyourself these simple questions.

Do you complete your holiday shopping before December 1st?
The night of December 24th?
Or, worst yet, sometime mid-March of them following year?

Figure out your category yet? Not sure?

Good procrastination is like good cholesterol: we all need a healthy level.

Before we go any further, let me point out that not ALL procrastination is bad.

Some procrastination can be a lifesaver. That’s because it is actually very wise to put off some things till tomorrow.

Take worry, for example.

Adopting Scarlet O’Hara’s "I will think about that tomorrow" philosophy can help you live longer and more serenely.

You can use the energy you save by not indulging in senseless worry to make plans or take constructive action.

And we have all heard that at least 90% of the things we worry about never happen.

So why not put off worrying for as long as you can?

Procrastination is also a good policy when it comes to reacting to imagined or actual insults, threats or slights.

Restraint of tongue and pen is a virtue.

Its practice would stop a lot of disagreements from escalating into warfare if universally applied.
You will never regret waiting a day to mail a nasty note to people who have annoyed you, or before sending an angry e-mail or making a harassing telephone call.

Then there is decision making in general.

Snap decisions and impulse purchases box us into corners we then have to struggle to escape.

Judicious procrastination when it comes to making up our minds can be very beneficial.

I am talking about decisions such as signing time share contracts in real estate agents’ office; quitting jobs because you were passed over for promotion; breaking up with a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband because they may have done something they shouldn’t
(or didn’t do something they should have); buying a fixer-upper car/boat/house, buying anything from aTV infomercial, and the list goes on.

What are the things that we give up for procrastination.

The type of procrastination that is harmful is ironically designed to avoid pain or discomfort.

The procrastinator puts off unpleasant, difficult, or risky tasks and decisions that need to be completed to support his or her life and well being.

In its mild forms, procrastination is an annoyance. We laugh it off as a personal quirk.

However, at its extreme,procrastination robs people of accomplishment, peace of mind, money, self-esteem and satisfying relationships.

Procrastination can cause people to literally lose their jobs, endanger their health, ruin their relationships and sabotage their chances at success.

How do you know if your procrastination tendencies are a major problem that you should address?

Just look at the consequences of procrastination in your life.

You might find it helpful to create a formal Procrastination Profile to see what your procrastination is actually costing you.

As you start adding the cost of procrastination, you will see obvious costs like library and video stores fines; taxpenalties for late filing, credit card fines are just the tip of the iceberg.

Consider the health cost of delayed medical/dental checkups and procedures.

Think about the loss to your relationships of making promises that you don’t keep.

Take into account your unrealized dreams. The career that never quite gets launched.

The investment property you never quite got around to buying.

The college degree that never quite gets finished.

The vacation you are going to take the family on.......someday.

Why do we procrastinate?

It is probably that procrastination becomes a way of avoiding being judged, controlled or rejected.

The procrastinator wants to be independent of others because he or she is afraid of losing control or being rejected.

The procrastinator avoids putting him or her self in positions where they can be judged.

Incomplete projects, for example,are a perfect way of avoiding judgement and rejection.

Who is to say whether an unfinished book is a Masterpiece or not if no one sees it?

A procrastinator wants to avoid this risk and postpones sending it out preferring to keep the illusion of success.

He or she doesn’t take the course that could lead to a better job.

So they have no chance of failing and can daydream about their certain success.

Procrastination also buys leisure as the fable of the ant and the grasshopper illustrates.

The ant works hard in the summer to assure a secure, comfortable winter.

The grasshopper fiddles away the summer with the hope that someone will take care of him or some other miracle will occur when the days start getting shorter.

Procrastination’s rewards are a temporary respite from anxiety, effort, risk and stress.

The long-term costs are self-expression,health (financial and physical), satisfaction, love and self-respect.

You can change. And the first step is taking a step TODAY.

Not tomorrow.

Won't you start right now?

2 Comments:

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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I have a christmas gift site/blog. It pretty much covers gift ideas for christmas related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 4:19 AM, Blogger TexasDude said...

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