How to beat procrastination…tomorrow.


You might be thinking, “One of these days I’m going to get help for my procrastination problem.”

Well today is that day.

Everyone struggles with procrastination to one degree or another. Type A personalities live like there’s no tomorrow. The rest of us live like there is. In fact, Mark Twain once said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

There are four reasons why we procrastinate. Identifying and understanding these reasons is the first step towards victory over procrastination…or at least getting better at not procrastination. I’m not a big optimist.

Reason #1: Fatigue. I’m overweight. You know you’re overweight when you can’t get off the couch without making a grunting sound. On top of that, I don’t get much exercise…other than getting off of the couch. Add to this that I don’t sleep well and you have a great recipe for feeling tired all the time. When I feel tired I put things off.

Reason #2: Distractions. (Wait a minute. I’ll be right back. Someone just emailed me.) There…now where were we? Oh yes, distractions are one reason why we put things off. Social media is a big distraction. All the interesting stuff available on the web is a big distraction. A noisy environment is distracting. People dropping in unannounced are distracting. Your phone. Worry can be distracting.

Reason #3: Unenjoyable. This is a big reason for procrastination. If I don’t enjoy a certain task there is a greater likelihood that I will put off doing it. For example, I don’t enjoy doing the books for my business. Instead of staying on top of it, I’ll let the receipts pile up for a few months, start worrying about an IRS audit, and then spend a couple hours catching up. We tend to put off those things that we don’t enjoy. I’ve had an email from my dentist sitting in my inbox since April reminding me to come in for a check-up.

Reason #4: Incompetent. When you’re not good at something it’s easy to procrastinate. There’s not a lot of things that I’m good at. I think there’s about three things I’m really good at and one of them is whistling. Anything involving, tools, fixing, assembling, anything requiring coordination…stuff like this, I’m not good at.

For the past three summers I’ve wanted to fix a series of faulty sprinkler-heads on our property. I’m not good at fixing things. When I try to fix things I typically make the problem worse. But I swear to you today, on the souls of my grandchildren, next summer I’ll fix those sprinkler-heads.

So, there they are, the four most common reasons for procrastination. Do you recognize any of them in your life? Here are some questions for reflection:

1. Which of these four relates to you the most?

2. Can you think of any other reasons why you procrastinate that are not on this list?

3. What three decisions could you make today (not tomorrow) that would help you beat procrastination?