Dealing with procrastination

There’s a little term that starts with P which refers to something most of us embrace wholeheartedly more often than we should. Amazingly it’s not Pinot Gris, although the frequency with which I embrace that P comes pretty close for me. I’m talking about procrastination. We all do it. We put things off that we shouldn’t and we wait days to do something that could have been done straight away. We wait and hope the task magically disappears although we know full well it won’t. We get the guilts and tell ourselves we’ll get to it when we just have time, or when I just finish this, and only when it’s absolute crunch time do we force ourselves to just get on with it. And usually the thought of whatever it was we were putting off is actually worse than the job or act itself ends up being.  

Procrastination is a curse that few of us seem to be free of. The funny thing about it is, all of us know how bad it can make us feel, but it still doesn’t stop us from returning to it time and time again. Hmm, I see another link with the Pinot Gris there…but I digress. Procrastinating reduces opportunities, messes with progress and often sets us up for failure, or at least a result that is well below what we could have achieved had we not doddered around wasting time for so long.


Working in real estate, many people find there is no exception to putting off what you should be doing right now; I’ve posted about it before. Making the phone call to break bad news, or tell a customer that there is no news on the sale of their property. Meeting up with a difficult client – there are lots of things real estate agents can procrastinate about, but in the enlightened words of author William James, "Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."

The problem with most tasks that end up being subject to procrastination is that there isn’t an immediate perceived negative outcome or risk. That’s why we leave them to the last minute – only when we realize the paperwork fairy isn’t going to magic away what we’ve been putting off for days and we could risk a client if we don’t suddenly pick up the slack, do we jump into action. But imagine all the niggling inner voices you could silence or the peace you’d have if you really did stop procrastinating and just knocked off that job you’re dreading. It makes you wonder why we don’t. But I’ll think about that tomorrow.


Posted by Charles Tarbey on 26/08/2009 at 9:09 AM | Categories:


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