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There’s no time like now

Surge ahead by conquering the habit of procrastination

education Updated: Feb 22, 2012 18:18 IST
Chitra Jha
Chitra Jha
Hindustan Times

Procrastination is one reason why there are so many unfulfilled lives and setbacks. It makes us settle for less than what we deserve and are capable of. Thus, it kills confidence and stalls momentum. We know these side-effects of procrastination but we succumb to its seductive embrace every now and then. To overcome procrastination, we need to know why we procrastinate. There are many reasons for procrastination. Some of these are:

* Procrastination is an easy trap to fall into if we are not confident of our abilities. We keep saying, ‘I’ll do this tomorrow’. But tomorrow never dawns, and when the deadline creeps up, we begin to panic.
* Fear of failure convinces us that it is better to avoid doing something than face failure.
* Even though success is a positive stimulation, at times it becomes a cause for procrastination too. We feel that if we succeed at something, others’ expectations from us will rise and they will set very high standards for us, which we may not be able to maintain. So, it is better not to succeed now. This is a crazy way of thinking but not very uncommon.
* Fear of disapproval too makes us shy away from doing our work.
* Boredom is another cause for it because we can’t motivate ourselves to do something that we find boring.
* Some of us rebel against routine and scheduled work.

How can we overcome procrastination? Here are some tips:
* Aim at better organisation and time management. Recognise your individual reasons for procrastination and take steps to get more organised.
* Make a list of all that needs to be done. Prioritise these tasks and drop non-essential ones from the list.
* Break large projects into smaller tasks. Set aside ample time for each scheduled piece of work.
* Don’t panic if you are behind schedule. Give yourself some extra time. Reschedule your other appointments. Take help from your colleagues and friends.
* Bite off only what you can chew. Learn to delegate.
* Whenever you think of putting off a task for later, think of Nike’s famous slogan, ‘Just do it!’
* Schedule a reward time for yourself, after the task is done.
* Provide a momentum to your work by physically striking off the completed task from your list.
* Ask yourself, “What one thing can I do today that I don’t want to do, but doing it will take me towards my goal?” Answer your question and take prompt action.

Remember that there is no problem that can’t be solved, no task that can’t be completed and no habit that can’t be changed… All we need to do is change our outlook. All the best for that!

The author is a life-skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer. Contact: chitrajhaa@

First Published: Feb 22, 2012 10:06 IST