PROCRASTINATION We’ve all been plagued by procrastination at one time or another. For some, it’s a chronic problem. Others find that it hits only some areas of their lives. The net results, though, are usually the same – wasted time, missed opportunities, poor performance, self-deprecation, or increased stress. Procrastination is letting the low-priority tasks get in the way of high-priority ones. It’s socializing with colleagues when you know that important work project is due soon, watching TV instead of doing your household chores, or talking about superficial things with your partner rather than discussing your relationship concerns. We all seem to do fine with things we want to do or enjoy doing for fun. But, when we perceive tasks as difficult, inconvenient, or scary, we may shift into our procrastination mode. We have very clever ways of fooling ourselves. CAUSES Procrastination is a bad habit. Like other habits, there are two general causes. The first is the “crooked thinking” we employ to justify our behavior. The second source is our behavioral patterns. A closer look at our crooked thinking reveals three major issues in delaying tactics – perfectionism, inadequacy, and discomfort. Those who believe they must turn in the most exemplary report may wait until all available resources have been reviewed or endlessly rewrite draft after draft. Worry over producing the perfect project prevents them from finishing on time. Feelings of inadequacy can also cause delays. Those who “know for a fact” that they are incompetent often believe they will fail and will avoid the unpleasantness of having their skills put to the test. Fear of discomfort is another way of putting a stop to what needs to be done. Yet, the more we delay, the worse the discomforting problem (like a toothache) becomes. Our behavioral patterns are the second cause. Getting started on an unpleasant or difficult task may seem impossible. Procrastination is like…
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