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Procrastination – I’ll look into the problem later…

November 22, 2007

Reading some research on procrastination, I found a little bit of interesting information (surprisingly not as much as I would have liked). 

The material discussed procrastination as not being a state of laziness but rather of active mental diversion.  The area between our intentions and our actions.  20% of the population can actually lay claim to being a “procrastinator” while most of us just put off some things some of the time.

In either case, what can you do to be more action oriented?  One suggestion they gave was to record your patterns of procrastination.  This is the same as the act of Observe in my Performance Shift Model.  It will give you clues as to what is happening and why.  And, will allow you create a reasonable strategy for dealing with it.

They also suggest recognizing the problem is often frustration (interesting.)  Or sometimes boredom, uncertainty or guilt.  In these cases they suggest that you promise yourself to try to work at the task for 10 minutes and then decide if you want to continue.

Not a bad suggestion for a number of reasons but one thing that is rarely offered as a solution but I find works well both for myself and others I work with is to plan your procrastination.  Yes, that’s right.  If you really aren’t going to get started on something then celebrate it.  Say, “Okay, I’m going to procrastinate…. for another 1 hour, and then I’m going to start on this at exactly 2pm.”  This does a couple of things.  First, it gives you a break or treat first.  Instead of task then treat, it is treat then task.  Not perfect but if it works, great.

And, second, the planned procrastination allows you to not get caught up in the mental gymnastics that people do when they’re procrastination.  You don’t end up wasting as much time.  This is really really important. 

If you’re going to procrastinate, at least be effecient with your time. 

What things do you do to help with procrastination?

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