‘Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today’. I am sure we have all heard this saying. Is it a good motto to live by? Four questions I feel need to be asked are, ‘Why am I putting it off?’, ‘Is it my responsibility?’, ‘Does the task need to be done at all?’, and ‘Am I waiting for conditions to be perfect?’
Procrastination can be a problem. If we keep putting something off or find a reason to delay doing lots of things we can be inefficient. We can get frustrated and lose confidence in ourselves. Others may view us as unreliable.
If procrastination is a problem we need to ask why we keep putting things off. Is it because we are unsure of what the task involves or don’t know how to do it? Is fear the problem? Is it because we are disorganised?
Perhaps we need to check the details of the task. When does the task need to be completed? Can someone else help and if so, who? Writing down the instructions and checking the details can increase confidence. These written details can be referred to again later if necessary.
If fear is the stumbling block can something be done to address that fear? If not, perhaps the task is better done by someone else.
When disorganisation is the issue it may help to assign time to tidy up, clean out or de-clutter. Sorting and filing may make it easier to tackle what we have been putting off.
Some people try to do too much and end up overwhelmed. No matter how many lists they write and no matter how hard they work they can’t get everything done. Perfectionists can fall into this category.
Perhaps others can do some tasks even if their standard is not as high as you would like. Possibly some tasks don’t need to be done as often or at all.
When I have had a lot on my plate sometimes I found others will help out if I don’t get around to some tasks today (or this week). If I really push myself to get things done others don’t volunteer because they think I can cope.
It is important to stop waiting for perfect conditions before doing something. I like the way Robert Kiyosaki (American business man, self-help author and motivational speaker) expressed this when he wrote, ‘If you are the kind of person who is waiting for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait for a long time. It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to go green for five miles before starting the trip.’ Sometimes you just have to get started on the task.
While some things can be put off for another day, there is one thing I feel should never be put off. Dale Carnegie said, ‘One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.’ Never put off living.