According to psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, procrastination occurs when there’s “a temporal gap between intended behavior and enacted behavior.” That is, when there’s a significant time period between when people intend to do a job, and when they actually do it.
We all procrastinate from time to time. Sometimes it’s those mundane things – like sorting through old files, reconciling accounts, or tidying the linen cupboard. But often it’s the bigger things that require more time, more commitment, and put us at more risk of failing, looking foolish or feeling emotionally bruised. Things like updating our resume to look for a new job, confronting a situation that weighs us down, or pursuing a long held aspiration.Of course people come up with all sorts of creative reasons why now, today, just isn’t the right time. Too busy. Too broke. Too stressed. Too risky. Too uncertain. Too inexperienced. Too old. Too young. Too disruptive. Occasionally those reasons are valid. But more often they are simply excuses for doing the real work and experiencing the emotional discomfort inherent in making meaningful changes in our work and lives.
To have a good chance of conquering procrastination, you need to spot straight away that you’re doing it. Then, you need to identify why you’re doing it and take appropriate steps to overcome the block.
Successful people have one thing in common: they’ve developed the habit of doing what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. We all want more money, but we don’t all want more work. We’d all like to be slim and trim, but we’re not all willing to eat properly and exercise daily. The bookends of success are commitment and consistency.
Without COMMITMENT you’ll never start, and without CONSISTENCY you’ll never finish. Getting started is the hardest part, because we come up with so many reasons not to. So:
1) Start small. Take the first step. You can’t take step two until you’ve taken step one. Taking the first step to prioritize your life will focus you in the right direction. But don’t expect to immediately understand all that’s required. ‘By faith Abraham … went out, not knowing’ (Hebrews 11:8 KJV). God guides you when you’re in motion, so ‘you’ll know as you go’.