How to Procrastinate Successfully and Defeat Pointless Procrastination
“In a prosperous society most misery is self-inflicted.” George Ainslie*
Squirrel chasing, avoiding discomfort, perfectionism, and waiting to the last minute are symptoms self-inflicted misery.
Procrastinators make on average $15,000 less than non-procrastinators. Nguyen, Steel, & Ferrari**
Put off creative activities. Many people who come up with original ideas let them ruminate. Adam Grant
Put off low impact activities so you can do what matters.
The person who does a few quick things before beginning an important thing spends their best energy on low impact activities.
It takes courage to stop doing the next thing so you can focus on important things.
Defeat pointless procrastination:
#1. Accept it.
Procrastination is normal. Most people procrastinate from time to time. College students are the best procrastinators.
Guilt creates avoidance.
Don’t beat yourself up for procrastinating. You’re less likely to solve a problem when guilt and shame dominate your thinking.
#2. Begin strong.
Do the hard thing first. Brian Tracy says, “Eat That Frog.”
#3. Boost accessibility.
Make it easy to do things you put off. I recently put some dumbbells near the door of my office. I pump a little iron before I sit at my desk, very little.
#4. Say good enough.
Something done imperfectly is better than something not done at all. You can always improve something after you do it imperfectly.
The future is built one imperfect step at a time.
Procrastinators think, why begin if you don’t have time to finish.
#5. Improve calendar management.
The ability to manage your calendar is the ability to manage your life.
Place important items on next week’s calendar before it fills up.
Schedule free time. The procrastinator in you loves to see free time on your calendar.
Evaluate your calendar. What’s on your calendar that others might do?
Tip: Never procrastinate on bedtime.
What suggestions do you have for chronic procrastinators?
What low impact activities are better left undone or postponed?
*Ainsile, G. (2005). Precis of Breakdown of Will. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 635-673.