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Overcome a major obstacle to your success.
September 01, 2008

Overcome a major obstacle to your success.


Success means different things to different people; however, one of the surest ways to inhibit your success is procrastination. All of us procrastinate to some extent, but procrastination becomes a problem when it affects your career and personal relationships, and increases your stress.

The key to beating the procrastination habit is to:

  1. recognize when you are procrastinating,
  2. understanding the reasons for your procrastination, and
  3. take active steps to beat procrastination.

How to recognize procrastination

We procrastinate essentially because we put off something that we should be focusing on in favor of doing what we enjoy or find easy. For example, how many of us have put off doing an important assignment or a work project, for something more enjoyable but less important? TV springs to mind here!

If you are honest with yourself you probably know when you are procrastinating.

Some sure fire ways you will know that you are procrastinating is

  • when you do your low priority tasks before high priority tasks,
  • avoid doing high priority tasks (such as seeing this as an opportunity to go and have a coffee),
  • leaving an important item on your to do list over a number of days (when it is important), and
  • saying yes to tasks that people want you to do which aren't that important

To clarify what is important and where you could be spending your time better, try our goal setting course.

Know why you procrastinate and then beat it.

Procrastinators do not necessarily work less hours, nor are they lazier. However, they do spend their time on the wrong tasks.

Procrastination is a habit, and like any habit it has multiple causes. Some of the reasons for procrastination and how to deal with procrastination are below.

Controlled by the tyranny of the urgent.

If you do not understand the difference between urgent and important tasks then you may think that the right thing to do is to react to the environment or to the one demanding the loudest. See our proactive time management to get onto those things that add value to your life.

Overwhelmed by work.

Being overwhelmed by a task can be another reason for procrastination. You may not know where to begin or may feel that you lack the resources that you require. As a result you retreat to the comfort of doing tasks that you are easy.

But important tasks rarely go away, and this can result in great stress if it becomes urgent. Try these methods of beating procrastination if you are overwhelmed with work.

Fear of failure.

Nobody likes to fail, and naturally we put off these tasks. Fearing failure can strike the most confident of people, and a hallmark of successful people who overcome their fear.

Unfortunately, these fears can keep you doing what you have to do until the task overwhelms you and you have to do now. As you guessed, this can dramatically increase the stress that we feel. Here are some of the strategies that I used to overcome my fear of public speaking.

Unpleasant task.

There few people who enjoy doing unpleasant tasks, but sometimes you have to “bite the bullet”. However there are a number of strategies that you can put in place which will make it easier for you. They involve

  • rewarding yourself for doing a part of the task.
  • Use the buddy system by asking a well meaning friend to check up on you. Peer pressure works, and is the idea behind self-help groups.
  • Take out the emotional influence of the task by drawing up a pros and cons list. This can also be complemented by working out how much it costs your employers to pay for your procrastination.

There are many more that can found here.


Procrastination is a thief of time and an obstacle to your success

To overcome procrastination first know your reasons and then implement strategies to beat it. Here we have given you a few strategies based on the different causes of procrastination.

In the next newsletter, coming to you on the 15th September, we will give you strategies that you can put in place when you are overwhelmed with work.

If you have any comments, then please do not hesitate to contact us at Effective Time Management Strategies.

All the best

Kell and the team at Effective Time Management Strategies

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