Essential Skills

 

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There are many ways to avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be that Procrastinators sabotage themselves.
They put obstacles in their own path. They actually choose paths that hurt their performance.

 

Procrastination
Psychology Today put together a nice little article centered on procrastination. Here it is with a bit of editing:Procrastination is a serious malady. It messes up lives. It's not a humorous subject. That said...

Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but 20 percent of people are true procrastinators. Chronic procrastinators consistently avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions, which, unfortunately, are increasingly available. Procrastination in large part reflects a difficulty in regulating emotions and to accurately predict how he/she will feel tomorrow, or the next day.

Procrastination, like achievement, is a mindset, a habit, a pattern of behaviors that can support or negate our efforts to accomplish our goals and dreams. As we set goals, ask questions about the road to success, and visualize our dreams, we must be equally vigilant in developing skills and habits that help us overcome the tendency to abuse our time and settle for less than our best. You can master your tendencies and overcome the seeds of procrastination.

Procrastinators say they perform better under pressure, but that's just one of many lies they tell themselves. Since procrastinators are made and not born, it's possible to overcome procrastination—with effort.

Uh-oh, you've got the earmarks of a procrastinator. Of course, you've got lots of company. Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. These are people who don't pay their bills on time, who miss opportunities for buying tickets to concerts, who leave Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve. Let's not even talk about income taxes!

It's not trivial, although as a culture we don't take it seriously as a problem.
It represents a profound problem of self-regulation.

College seems to bring out the procrastination in people. In the college setting, up to 70 percent of students identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.

Of course, it won't help you get things done any faster to know that procrastination isn't good for your health. Putting things off creates higher levels of stress and sends all those stress hormones coursing through your body, wearing it out faster. And it puts you at risk for poor health because you're just as likely to delay seeking treatment for medical problems as you are to delay everything else.

 
Procrastinators make themselves sick!
Procrastination actually weakens your immune system. It keeps you awake at night. And it doesn't do a thing for your relationships either. It makes loved ones resentful, because it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto them.

Procrastinators are made and not born. That's both the good news and the bad news. Good because it's a learned response, and what's learned can be unlearned. The bad news is that while it's possible to change, it takes a lot of psychic energy and you don't necessarily feel transformed internally.

You should know that some people who think of themselves as procrastinators really aren't. In a world of unending deadlines, they just put too many things on their "To Do" list. They're not avoiding tasks, the mark of a bona fide procrastinator; they're getting things done, just not as many as they would like.

The first step in overcoming a problem is recognizing there is a problem.Five lies procrastinators tell themselves:
It's easy to tell whether you're a real procrastinator. According to Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, real procrastinators tell themselves five lies:

• They overestimate the time they have left to perform tasks.

• They underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks.

• They overestimate how motivated they will feel the next day, next week, the next month--whenever they are putting things off to.

• They mistakenly think that succeeding at a task requires that they feel like doing it.

• They mistakenly believe that working when not in the mood is suboptimal.

Procrastinators also actively look for distractions, especially ones that don't take heavy-duty commitment on their part. Checking e-mail is just about tailor-made for this purpose. The dirty little secret is that procrastinators distract themselves as a way of regulating their own emotions, such as fear of failure.

So face it. Some tasks are never going to be joyful moments of blissful pleasure no matter how long they marinate on your desk. You've got to do them now.

Eight ways to overcome procrastination
How to tackle procrastination? Dr. Ferrari recommends these strategies for reducing procrastination:

  1. Make a list of everything you have to do.Here's the formula.

  2. Write a statement of intention.

  3. Set realistic goals.

  4. Break it down into specific tasks.

  5. Make your task meaningful.

  6. Promise yourself a reward.

  7. Eliminate tasks you never plan to do. Be honest!

  8. Estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to complete a task. Then increase the amount by 100%.

 

 

Procrastination
The modern term comes from the Latin word procrastinatus, which is the past participle of procrastinare derived from pro- (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow).[6] Though descriptions of procrastination appear in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman texts, it first appears by name in the English language in 1548 according to the Oxford English Dictionary.[

 

 

 

 

“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”
    – Grace Hansen

 

 

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth — Not going all the way, and not starting.”
     – Buddha

 

 

 

 

Perfectionism/Afraid to Make a Mistake.
Perfectionism as a cause for procrastination?

Do you spend valuable time worrying instead of acting? The first step in addressing this problem is recognition of self-defeating behavior and associated thinking.

  • Visualize the project successfully completed and the steps you need to take to get there. Create a clear picture for yourself and your team.
  • Now, take a first step in the detailed action plan you've created. Build on the momentum.
Start the assignment. Just start...
 
Labels for Procrastinators:
Lazy. Slow starter. Dawdler. Unmotivated. Stupid. Disorganized. The procrastinator is dubbed with some unflattering labels. Similarly, a business that is slow to respond can be identified as ineffectively managed, and its products are often viewed less favorably. As you can see, whether you're doing homework or running a business, this behavior has tremendous negative implications.

Usually, there is a more telling root cause for this behavior. Therefore, the first step in structuring a project to minimize procrastination (or to combat an existing problem) is to carefully consider why you or one of your team members might not act with a sense of urgency. Then, you can select the appropriate tactics to apply. The time will be well spent. According to business consultant Brian Tracy, the habit of urgency is one of the biggest determinants of career success.

Poor Work Habits.
Someone with poor work habits spends excessive time on unimportant tasks or works inefficiently. As a deadline approaches, reliance on adrenaline is often necessary. This behavior can be misconstrued as procrastination. But, there are some easy fixes to this one. Things to do include:

  • Using effective tools to prioritize and schedule activities. The method should ensure coordination with other team members.
  • Making realistic estimates for completing tasks.
  • Organizing workspace so that needed items are readily accessible.
  • Gathering all items needed before beginning a job so you can work without interruption.

 

                  Really, it's a serious matter!

 

(Another fine page from Dennis Yuzenas' website)