Hello loves! It’s the beginning of September and that means a new academic year and for some of us, the beginning of our working lives. Whatever your season, this is the season to work on preventing procrastination. Unlike my other post tackling revision, this one won’t be comprised of neat bullet points and hacks. Procrastination and its effects are much more nuanced than that. Join me on my journey of introspection and self-discipline, I hope my efforts to tackle procrastination inspire your own.
Introspection and Planning
I have inherited many good things from my father but an unfortunate trait I was also given is a proclivity for procrastination. It’s a very bad habit that has caused me to put off some very important tasks, miss out on opportunities and not update this blog in three months. As part of my journey to find the joie de vivre and revel in it, I noted that I had to kick this bad habit. In order to do this, I had to identify why I procrastinate.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”
I am a perfectionist, I have made no secret of this. I only want to do things exceptionally well and while in itself, this is not bad, it can be an enemy of progress! For me, it is a crutch. Either I take the aforementioned quote too literally and plan for every conceivable eventuality and never end up actualising my goals. Or, I leave everything to the last minute and the quote haunts me. Using the planning stage of achieving your goals as a way to prevent any possible failures is a fool’s game. Life has taught me that nothing is smooth or linear. In order to succeed, you must be willing to fail and learn. On the other hand, planning can be a fantastic tool in preventing procrastination.
Planning can be a motivator to know that your goals have structure and a path of progression. A goal without some sort of plan is a dream and no means of getting there. My experience has been to sketch out a flexible plan and do! Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be coherent and thoughtful – you can add the rest as you go along gaining experience and knowledge.
Self-discipline and Motivation
Introspection and planning are the relatively easy parts, preventing procrastination requires action. There are many things that get in the way of translating our plans into action such as poor health or unexpected events. These are okay, as I mentioned, plans ought to be flexible and only you can decide what to prioritise. Procrastination becomes problematic when you are the only thing holding you back. There have been many times when I couldn’t be bothered or leisure time would bleed over into productivity time. This is the hard part.
No one can make you want to achieve your goals
Eliminating procrastination will only happen when you want it to. There is no easy way to prevent procrastination, it requires willpower. Realising your goals takes discipline, it requires you to recognise that your goals will demand sacrifice and you must decide that they are worth it. It also requires you to renew this decision every day. In other words, motivation is key. My friend Bleggy has a blog named Business with Bleggs where she documents her business journey and shares her insights with all of us. Her post on motivation provides a five-point plan on preventing procrastination.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”
Perhaps the best thing I have realised is that procrastination robs you not only of time but also of your future. Procrastination can prevent you from giving your very best effort leaving you with regrets and what-ifs. Procrastination can also mean you never get started in the first place. We are on this earth for such a short time that every moment not spent enriching our lives is wasted. Go out and do, go out and live!
I hope that sharing my journey with procrastination, a journey that is very much still in progress, is helpful to someone. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for procrastination. It requires self-reflection and motivation and no one can do that for you but you!