The dictionary indicates that to procrastinate means to defer action, to delay until an opportunity is lost. Dr. Ellis, a counselor who specializes in the issue of procrastination, defines procrastination as deciding to do something and then not doing it.
Now, I want to clarify something. Delay and procrastination are not the same thing. There may be a legitimate reason for a delay. Procrastination is "to delay until it is too late."
For example, say you received the brochure for a conference related to your field of interest. You read it, the workshops looked beneficial to you and you made the decision to go. But then you set the info aside and put off following through by calling to ask your questions, checking your calendar and registering...until it was too late. Then the day of the conference arrived and the opportunity was gone. You missed it.
If this is your modus operandi and you really want to do it differently, there is hope. You can change.
- Decide you don't want to live this way anymore. Acknowledge your need to someone who will listen and help you stay accountable.
- Discover and admit the misconceptions that lead to your procrastination. (For example: I've got to do perfectly or not at all.)
- Replace your misconception with the truth. (For example: Perfection on this earth is not possible. Only God is perfect. I need only do the best I can at any given time and even that might fluctuate.)
- As a Christian, you can then surrender the entire journey to God and trust that He is able to guide you through the changing process.
- Remain committed to your decision for new habits and attitudes. Keep walking through the fear that often accompanies any unfamiliar process of positive change.
And here are 10 practical tips for ceasing to put the "PRO" in procrastination. (Not in order of importance)
- Accept (or start) a new major project only when you have released an existing one.
- Set mini-goals when working on an extended project. Some call it "chunk-a-sizing." Then the entire long-term goal does not hang over your head continually.
- Stop the negative thought patterns that throws the "misconception" in your face. Develop a system that works for you.
- Delegate the workload.
- Become friends with "time."
- Ask questions. Ask for help. Then accept it.
- Cultivate a support system.
- Learn to say "no" as well as "yes."
- Remember that less is sometimes more.
- Recognize and accept your limitations. (Even Jesus couldn't be in two places at once while here on this earth.)
Which tip will you try this week?