I was in a panic this morning as I realized I had been putting off registering my son for summer camps. Luckily there were spots still available. (Not getting in would have cost this working mom her sanity.)
Later on, I was talking to one of my mastermind buddies when it suddenly hit me. I’ve been talking and talking the last two weeks about all these programs I’m creating, and want to create…that I actually haven’t done anything at all.
I’ve been procrastinating on getting anything started.
Procrastination is a common human behavior, but it can be also be very costly.
Aside from the stress of last-minute panic, there are other consequences. Paying your taxes late means hefty penalties. Waiting to get your car repaired may mean the warranty runs out and you have to pay instead of getting it done free. In business, not invoicing clients means not getting paid on time, which affects your cash flow.
If you procrastinate, you probably do so because:
- You want to avoid unpleasant tasks
- You’re disorganized
- You have fear of failure (or success)
- You’re a perfectionist
- The project or task seems too hard or overwhelming
There’s a host of other reasons. Sometimes though, procrastination serves a valuable purpose: your inner voice may be saying, “I really don’t want to do this at all – ever.”
When I sat with myself today, it turned out it was all of the above. I needed to map out a bigger picture of what I wanted to achieve for the rest of the year. Once I did that I felt more organized. I was able to see which ‘unpleasant’ tasks I could delegate and by breaking the jobs down into smaller chunks and putting timelines to it all, my perfectionist self lost its fear of failure.
I also saw that some projects I really wanted to do, just don’t fit in my timeline until later this year. This was causing me a lot of stress figuring out how I was going to do it all.
Then, I started to dig into just one project today and within a few hours I moved forward much more quickly than I thought I could.
By making a commitment to get started with no interruptions, breaks or distractions, and working one step at a time, I got things done with no stress or panic.
I should have done it sooner!
Are you a procrastinator? How does it help or hinder you?
“The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.” – Rita Emmett, author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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