Procrastination is not inherently evil. There may be benefits to procrastination. Before ending procrastination for good, make sure you understand why you are delaying in the first place.
Why do we procrastinate?
No commitment. You realize after waiting a period of time that you aren’t fully committed to the goal. Better to know before you spend hours and hours on it, then abandon it.
Bad idea. It may be that you realize it’s a bad idea or that there is another way to accomplish something.
Too many goals. Maybe you put it aside in favor of something else or you have competing priorities.
Laziness. You look at your last week and realize that you have no excuse. You are just lazy. A sloth.
Exhaustion. You are physically and mentally spent doing other things, and you don’t start because your tank is running on empty.
Fear of failure. By not starting, you don’t finish and therefore reduce your risk of failure. After all, if you finish, everyone will see the end result and judge it. Rather than risk that, you never begin.
Photo by Captain Kimo on flickr.
This is a guest post by Jeremy Statton
. He is an orthopedic surgeon and a writer. He blogs about Living Better Stories. You can follow him on Twitter
or download a free copy of his eBook Grace Is
One of my regrets in life is never having watched a space shuttle launch in person.
I try to imagine how it might sound or what it probably feels like. But nothing could compare to witnessing the feat of getting something that big and heavy off the ground, through the atmosphere, and into orbit.
The purpose of a launch is to transfer the shuttle and the astronauts and the items stored on the shuttle into space. They go on a mission designed to accomplish a task. The launch is relatively insignificant when considering the greater purpose.
But have you ever thought about what it takes to get the shuttle off the ground? Have you ever considered what must happen first in order for the greater purpose to be accomplished?
Empty, the shuttle weighs 172,000 pounds. But add in the fuel necessary for liftoff and the weight goes up to 4,400,000 pounds. By weight, 96% of the shuttle exists to get it moving. After the launch, the first big moment comes when the two white rocket boosters on the side are released. This happens at exactly 124 seconds.
The boosters contain 83% of the fuel needed for the entire mission. The mission might last ten days, but a majority of the fuel is consumed in the first two minutes. We associate a space shuttle mission with a bigger purpose than getting off the ground, but the launch can contain the most difficult obstacles to overcome.
The same can happen for whatever purpose you choose to pursue. The start might be the most difficult part of any project.
How many good ideas have you had that never saw the light of day mainly because you never began?
Photo by Fellowship of the Rich on flickr.
People seem to be motivated by one of two forces. Either toward or against.
Both can be equally powerful motivators, but one seems to last.
Why are you in motion?
When I interview people for a job, I often ask questions about how the individual made career decisions. Some job changes were motivated by moving AWAY from something—a bad boss, a negative work environment, low pay. Other people make a change to move TOWARD something—a new opportunity, the ability to make a bigger impact, a better use of talent.
Though it’s not scientific validation, I’ve found that the people moving TOWARD the new opportunity are more successful, happier, and continue on an upward career path. These people are energized by the future, by what’s to come, by what’s possible.
Contrast that with the people moving AWAY from a job. It seems that the very same things that they didn’t like about the one job magically seemed to follow them to the next!
Moving TOWARD is more powerful than moving AWAY.
Image courtesy of istockphoto/donskarpo
Getting any time by myself seems to be impossible. The pressures are just always there. I never have an empty plate. I never think, “What will I do today?” My to-do lists are never ending.
To get that time, I have finally realized that I need to make an appointment with myself. I have to get away. When I do, I find that my performance everywhere goes up.
Here are 7 Steps for An Effective Appointment with yourself:
1. Make an appointment with yourself. Put it on the calendar and block the time.
2. Have a specific goal in mind. When you review your calendar for the upcoming week, your mind takes note of that upcoming appointment. If you have a goal in mind, your subconscious begins to work on it for you.
Image courtesy of istockphoto/alexsl
Do you remember the Road Runner cartoon? Wile E. Coyote would be chasing Road Runner who would “beep, beep!” and manage to slip away. Always two steps ahead of the coyote, Road Runner just outmaneuvered him in every episode.
I remember when the coyote would run right off a cliff in pursuit. And he would dramatically just keep running on air, not realizing that he wasn’t on solid ground. Though it was predictable, you would see the sudden realization, the pause, the expression and then the inevitable fall.
As a kid, I identified with the road runner. We were outsmarting our opponent. We just laughed at that coyote. How could he be so stupid? Every single week, he repeated the same mistakes. How could you be running so fast that you don’t realize you just ran off a cliff?
I watched one of those old cartoons today, and I looked at it from a completely different perspective. Instead of identifying with the road runner, I saw the coyote with new empathy.