4 Steps To Overcome Procrastination
One of the life habits that seems to affect most people regardless of age, gender, race, nationality or ethnicity is procrastination. In simple everyday language, procrastination is the tendency to put things off or not being able to take timely decisions. The effects of procrastination can range from just nuisance value to more serious implications.
A friend of mine never tires of telling me his story of how procrastination cost him heavily. Back in the early 2000s, he was considering buying investment property in Auckland as part of his planning for a retirement nest egg. With both him and his wife in salaried jobs, the banks were more than happy to give him a loan with only 5 percent deposit, which was standard back then. He had an opportunity to invest in a prime location at a very attractive price. He came close to signing the deal but developed cold feet at the last minute and decided to delay the decision by a week. By the time he made the decision to go in for the purchase, the apartment was already sold. That apartment today is worth more than 4 times the price it was when he was looking to buy it. In about 15 years, its price had quadrupled! My friend and his wife could have enjoyed early retirements if he had bought that apartment back then and sold it today, even after paying off whatever mortgage would have been left. Both of them continue to work in their dreary jobs while he can't stop thinking of "what if". The quote "when one door closes, another opens" might be true but the other door doesn't always lead to the same place! My friend never got another opportunity anywhere near as attractive. This is just an example of opportunity and money lost; there can be numerous examples of more serious losses, like putting off seeing a doctor for a medical problem until it becomes too late and the doctor says the dreaded words "you should have come in sooner".
Below are four simple steps to tackle the disease of procrastination in your lives -
1. Don't be a perfectionist - Accept "good enough" as an outcome. Striving for perfection often means you tend to take too long to achieve an outcome.
2. Task breakdown - Break your task down into smaller, manageable chunks. It is much easier to start a task if it seems small.
3. Eat that frog - Mark Twain said that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can get through your day comfortably and without anxiety, knowing that the worst thing for the day has already happened. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.
4. Consult a friend - When you are on the verge of putting off a decision, talk to a friend you trust. The decision will still have to be made by you, but talking to someone helps to clarify your own thoughts making it easier to arrive at a decision rather than delay it.