Why do you procrastinate?

I guarantee you know someone who procrastinates. Even when they know they shouldn’t. Perhaps you might classify yourself as someone who always puts off doing what they should be doing now, or soon? Are you aware of the fact you might be chronically doing this? I’m sure others around you notice, even when you think they don’t.

If you were to ask someone who is a chronic procrastinator if they liked to procrastinate, most would tell you they don’t like to do so. They might also tell you they can’t help being this way. Or, they will say “It’s just how I operate.” I don’t buy this. I also have first-hand experience with people who are professional procrastinators. 

When people procrastinate, they are generally doing so for a number of different reasons. Sometimes it is because they dread what they have to do, so they put off doing whatever that thing is they are supposed to be doing. Other times they might procrastinate to be spiteful, and not do something because someone told them they needed to do something right away. Or, perhaps they are a highly-distracted person, and forgot to do what they should be doing. The list could go on and on for why people procrastinate. 

If you have ever heard from someone that you are procrastinating, or that you always procrastinate, this is something you should take notice of. It’s not a label you want to have, and it can professionally tank your reputation. 

So, what do you do if you recognize you have tendencies or often procrastinate when you shouldn’t? Or, perhaps you work with or manage someone who would have this description associated with them? The good news is that anyone who procrastinates can in fact learn how to either procrastinate less, or recognize how to pull themselves out of heading down the procrastination track. 

How do you, or the procrastination culprit stop from doing this? You might not want to hear this. First you or they have to acknowledge doing this. Perhaps often, and possibly without being aware of the impact it has on others.

In general, when someone who procrastinates impacts others, the repercussions can be severe. It can also negatively impact both their career and personal life. Is this a bit extreme? Not really. I’ve seen this happen first hand. The example of the person I am referring to continuously self-sabotaged their creative career by not calling back opportunities that were handed to them on a silver platter. Would their career have been different if they had not procrastinated? Absolutely, and they were also on track to become world famous. 

Going back to how you can stop procrastinating or helping someone who does this, here are some suggestions about where to begin dropping this habit. Yes, I’m referring to it as a habit, as habits can be broken…especially bad habits. 

  • This is a six-week challenge. Why six weeks? Because there has been research done to prove it takes people approximately six weeks to make something become a habit. 
  • Pick someone to be your “Procrastination” coach. Tell them what you are trying to do, and make sure they will be able to support you emotionally on your quest to stop procrastinating. Also make sure they are empowered by you, and can hold you to be accountable.
  • Write down a list of all of the things you have been procrastinating on doing. Or, have the person you are trying to help do this. Do not procrastinate on this, or any of the other suggestions. Think of creating this list as a reward, instead of something you have to do. 
  • Pick one or two items to accomplish from your list each day for the next six weeks. If your list isn’t long enough to accomplish something on a daily basis for this time period, when you run out of items on your list, I guarantee you will be able to come up with new things to add to your initial list.
  • After you complete your daily accomplishment, reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be a large reward, and it could be a cumulative reward and point based. Everyone is motivated differently. I don’t like contests, so a contest wouldn’t motivate me. Think about what you are motivated by, and pick that as your reward.
  • Keep track of your accomplishments, and share them with your “Procrastination Coach”.
  • Upon reaching the six-week mark, take a look back at what you accomplished. You can do this on a daily or weekly basis if you determine this would be more motivational. 

If you sincerely want to stop procrastinating, or help someone who does this, know that if you or they do not stop procrastinating, your life, happiness, health and the opportunities you did not take advantage of will impact what your future will look like. If you want a brighter future, commit to getting rid of your procrastination habit today. 

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of two business books (e.g.,  Wisdom Whisperer, Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk. Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones. Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials. If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195. “NEW!” Guide for Teams: Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

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