You know you really should get down and do that job, yet something stops you. That something is procrastination. And unless you recognize it and tackle it head on, it's going to be a permanent drain on your efficiency and keep you from the success you know you're capable of. So before you read any further, make up your mind that today is the day you're finally going to do something about this debilitating problem. By the end of this article you'll have no excuse, and every reason to stop procrastination.
One of the main reasons procrastinators do not get things done is that they give themselves excuses. Here are some of the most common excuses and what you can do to defuse them.
I have not got the energy – Yeah, but you get a call to go out for the evening and suddenly you've got energy for that, right? The fact is, you have all the energy you need. You're just resisting getting started. But guess what? Once you get the job underway, you'll soon pick up momentum and find energy you did not know you had.
I do not need to start today, I've got stacks of time – Even if the deadline is some way off, the sooner you start, the better. First, there may be less time that you think. Second, who knows what problems you might run into? Third, if you manage to get the job done ahead of schedule, you'll feel a real sense of achievement.
I do my best work under pressure – What this really means is "I only get on with what I need to do when I have no choice." The work may get done under pressure, but it's definitely to be your best work. Get started sooner and you never know what gems your mind will come up with. Leave it to the last minute and there'll be little room for new ideas or for polishing up your work.
I'll do it after I've done … [insert simple non-urgent task here] – Sure, you can sort out the stationery cupboard or update your mobile phone directory, but at the end of the day, you'll be no nearer to getting today's task done. And that's your priority. Filling your time with lots of little jobs that do not need doing creates the illusion you're doing something. But actually you've achieved nothing.
I need time to think about it – Maybe you do, but more likely you're stalling. The real thinking will come once you get stuck into the job. If you really need thinking time, then set yourself a limit. Say, right, I'm going to brainstorm this for the next hour and then get started. Do not let yourself go over that deadline. Stop on the dot and start the task at once.
I do not know where to begin – Yes, you do. By killing that little lie at birth. There is no 'where' to begin other than where you are. Just get started on the task. It may seem hard or even impossible at first, but telling yourself it's beyond your capacity will not help. Just do what anyone else in your position would do. Do what you can. You'll invariably find that once you get your brain into gear, the fog starts to clear. And if not, at least you'll get a better idea of what kind of help you need.