Katie rushed into the office minutes before her meeting. She’d been up most of the night finishing her presentation and had finished with just enough time to get dressed and out the door.
John checked his calendar and realized he’d almost missed the deadline for an article for a client. He pushed the rest of his projects to the back burner and turned in the assignment just in time. The client loved the work, but the need to rush added to John’s stress level.
What do Katie and John have in common? Procrastination. They both knew about their deadlines far in advance, but they kept putting off the work. “I’ll get to it tomorrow,” and “I have time to finish that later” are thoughts they each embrace. How about you? Do you procrastinate?
The Dangers of Procrastination
Procrastination is often easier than progress. In fact, some people thrive on last minute pressure. But most of us don’t, and procrastination can add to the stress we already face in life.
It can undermine our efforts and send all of our progress crumbling down. It can incite panic and stress, both of which are detrimental to the creative process. It can also prevent us from getting that writing done on time and effectively.
We know the pitfalls, and we have every opportunity to keep on track, but the reality is that procrastination is a common problem. No matter what we do, we can’t let ourselves fall victim.
So why do we? At first, procrastination feels great. We don’t have to expend energy working hard, and everything that stresses us out is out of sight and out of mind. We have more time to focus on the things we enjoy.
We reassure ourselves that we’ll get the work done eventually, but right now we need some down time. Soon, though, the stress starts to creep in as deadlines approach.
Have you been there?
Have you had that nagging, stressful feeling in your head?
You know the one, that moment when you know you should be doing something else. If you have, you probably chose to ignore it and continue on.
I get it. You always plan on doing the work soon. Then, you’re at deadline, again. If you are anything like me, you probably feel a bit of panic. You see, I used to be a serial procrastinator. I thought it gave me an edge. I was convinced I did my best work if I left it to the last minute. I was lying to myself. And so are you.
Making a Change
So how do you change your habits and avoid procrastination? Simple, treat procrastination like a real danger. Pretend it’s something so deadly you shouldn’t even come near it.
Procrastination is a slippery slope, my friend, and it’s very tough to get yourself out of that slump once you’re in it. The absolute best thing you can do is avoid getting down the “I’ll do it later” path in the first place.
If you do find yourself starting to procrastinate, nip it in the bud. Set a strict schedule and stick to it. Change your mindset about procrastination by treating it like you would any hazard in your life. Either eradicate it or run away.
In addition to working on your mindset, make sure you are scheduling a reasonable amount of work. Instead of trying to overload yourself, even out the work and set up a stable schedule. Avoiding procrastination will dramatically reduce your stress levels!