Read an Excerpt
“Procrastinate” is a verb meaning “to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.”
Procrastination is as common as there are people on earth. Everyone procrastinates at one time or another. Procrastination is a habit, not a fatal flaw. It is probably the single most common hindrance to effective time management. It takes persistence to change, but you can do it.
Very simply stated, procrastination is the deliberate act of excessive postponing. How much trouble your postponing causes depends to a large degree on the “price you have to pay” for that behavior.
Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. This avoidance can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt. Procrastination has a high potential for painful consequences. It interferes with professional, academic and personal success. Psychologist William Knaus estimates that 90 percent of college students procrastinate. Of these students, 25 percent are chronic procrastinators and this group is usually the one who ends up dropping out of college.
Not A Time Management Problem
According to Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, procrastination is not a time management or planning problem. Procrastinators do not differ in their ability to estimate time, however they may be more optimistic in their ability to complete tasks. “Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up,” insists Dr. Ferrari.
It’s A Shift In Priorities
In addition, fear can be a driving force for procrastination. For example, we may worry that we can’t pay our bills next month and begin to work overtime to compensate for that financial shortfall. Suddenly, tasks at home to which we’ve committed, don’t get done and, sadly, we are incorrectly labeled procrastinators. A whole new pattern begins and eventually we do fall victim to the label. So now you know what it is. Find out why it happens.
Don’t wait to find out, turn the page now.
Procrastinators can successfully change the way they live their lives.
From our previous section we know that procrastination is the deliberate act of excessive postponing. But what are the underlying reasons why people procrastinate? We have organized this section into a series of statements and their explanations. Please read them carefully.
In the following exercise, you will find:
- Examples of common phrases or “excuses” procrastinators use.
- Supporting “quotes” about the phrases listed.
- Explanations of the procrastination phrases listed.
- Sections for you to respond with your own experience in relationship to the particular “excuses.”
Please take the time to explore these sections. They are there to help understand how procrastination affects you.
How Procrastination Works Inside Your Head
A task is a task. It is our “feeling” toward the task that may cause us to procrastinate. Everyday we are confronted with tasks, whether they are writing a paper, cleaning the garage or paying our bills. Inside our heads we deal with feelings about the task that guide what we do. If those feelings are negative, we may put off the task. The result is we can use our feelings to deal with the task rationally or irrationally. The rational voice says, “I hate cleaning the garage, but because company is coming this weekend, I’d better get to it now. You never know what might come up before then.” The irrational voice says, “I hate cleaning the garage and this task is just too big. I have company coming this weekend, but I can avoid taking them in the garage and really, summer is a much better time to be dealing with it.”
©2004. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Time Efficiency Makeover: Own Your Time and Your Life by Conquering Procrastination Dorothy K. Breininger, Debby S. Bitticks. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.,
3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.