Dollars and Sense: How to avoid the art of procrastination

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

You don&8217;t have to be lazy to procrastinate. Most people procrastinate.

We tend to put off things we do not like to do until the last minute.

Some of us find it hard to start any new project.

We find all kinds of excuses to keep from getting underway.

uWhy do people procrastinate?

Patti never seems to be able to get started on a project. She finds 100 excuses to delay.

Each morning she spends considerable time &8220;organizing&8221; her work.

She shuffles papers, writes tabs for each folder – in a variety of colors.

When that&8217;s completed, she goes for a cup of coffee, chats with her coworkers and finally gets down to business.

Cal has no problem when he has only one project to work on, but when faced with multiple projects, he will keep putting off the ones he likes least, even when they have priority status.

Kim&8217;s reason for stalling is not dislike, but fear of failure. If she has any doubts about an assignment, she won&8217;t start it until she feels absolutely secure.

Each of these people must approach the problem differently.

They must first identify their specific pattern of behavior and work to modify it.

uOvercoming the fear of starting

Kim dreaded starting anything new.

She was so afraid that she might make a serious error that she deferred starting as long as possible.

She would spend hours studying background, talking to others about the assignment, pondering its implications. This may be necessary in many activities, but there&8217;s a time when study has to give way to action.

Kim&8217;s concern about possible failure dominated her thinking. She lacked the self-confidence to take any step unless she was 100% sure it was right.

The amount of time needed to study a new project can be reduced if we are thoroughly familiar with the general subject area.

Her boss counseled her about this.

He reminded her that all of her projects were in her area of work. They were not totally unfamiliar. She had a solid background in her field and did not have to start from scratch with each new project. This was reinforced each time Kim was given a new assignment. It did not take too long for Kim to accept this and approach each new project with self-confidence.

By identifying and correcting the reason for your procrastination, you can make your days more productive