Procrastination is the act of putting off doing something important till a later
date. Most of us procrastinate now and then. We may make big plans such as
cleaning the house or starting on a diet but never carry them out. We may feel
reluctant to take risks or try something new. Some of us blame others or
situations for our unhappiness or to avoid doing something. While it's only an
occasional problem for most, procrastination can be a chronic stumbling block
There are many reasons for procrastinating. The first is that we may
dread taking on a difficult or boring job. The other reason is fear of failure.
When a task is perceived as long or difficult, many will procrastinate simply
because there is no immediate gratification. For example, we may put off dieting
because it could take months to lose those ten pounds. Fear of failure often
comes into play at school where performance is evaluated and can affect our
future success. A student may put off studying for a test until the last minute.
Lack of time spent studying is a more desirable explanation for failure than
lacking intelligence to learn something.
However, that one extra day (and the cake) does make a difference.
Procrastination causes stress, anxiety and a feeling of failure. Students who
fear failure ultimately face failure when they do not prepare for tests or start
projects on time. Employees who begin tasks at the last minute rarely perform as
well as their non-procrastinating colleagues. Putting off a diet program
ultimately adds to the number of pounds you need to lose to be healthy, thus
making the job much harder to accomplish.
If you are a chronic procrastinator, you will not cure yourself in a day. In
order to come out of the habit, you need to follow these steps. First, figure
out why you are procrastinating. Write down all the reasons why putting off your
project will bring you one step closer to failure. Next, break down the task
into smaller jobs. If it is a thirty-page paper due in two weeks, write down a
goal of finishing three pages a night. Remind yourself (write it down and put it
on the fridge) of how good you will feel when your project is done or when you
have lost those ten pounds.
Those of us who procrastinate on a day-to-day basis need a realistic 'to-do'
list. Keep the list with you and stick to the order. Cross things off as they
are accomplished. Plan a reward for the end of the day if you accomplish all
Tell your friends and family about your goals. If you have someone asking you
how your diet is coming along, it is more difficult to cheat. If you have a long
school project to do, ask a friend to help keep you on the task by calling each
day to see what you have accomplished.
In conclusion, procrastination can cause you to miss opportunities and
sabotage your future. Remember the saying, 'Procrastination is the thief of
time', so stop procrastinating.