Note: This is a guest post by David B. Bohl of SlowdownFAST.
The biggest obstacle to success and fulfillment for most people seems to be procrastination. Likewise, a major component of effective time management is avoiding procrastination.
Avoiding procrastination is also crucial if we hope to realize our dreams. This must be a conscious effort, because procrastination is so easy to engage in, yet so difficult to overcome. We must keep our goals in mind and maintain our desire to reach those goals, so that the temptation to put off our responsibilities until later does not eclipse our desire to succeed.
There are many reasons why we procrastinate – and we all do it. Procrastination, though, means sure death to reaching your goals.
1. Fear of Failure.
Many people put off doing things because they are afraid of failing. If they only speak of their hopes and dreams, but make no firm effort towards achieving their goal, they cannot fail.
If, however, people take action towards reaching their goals yet fail to realize them, they fear they will be seen by others as failures.
Even if a goal is not reached, the act of trying is reward in itself. Great learning is derived from experience, which can only be attained through action. Also, most people recognize a valiant effort and applaud it regardless of the outcome. The act of trying is an act of bravery. The act of avoidance is paramount to cowardice. Do not fall into the trap of using fear as a reason to procrastinate.
2. Feeling Overwhelmed.
Many times we look at a goal and feel that there is too much that needs to be done in order to accomplish it. The sense of being overwhelmed paralyzes us, preventing us from taking even the first step towards achieving our goal.
For every goal you have in life, break it down into individual parts. Determine what actions each individual part needs in order to be successful. If looking at the big picture makes you feel overwhelmed, look at the tiny steps along the way instead. Tackle them one by one, without worrying about the next one. Forge ahead with each individual victory, and before you know it you will have found success.
3. Human Nature.
We naturally tend to avoid that which causes us hardship or pain, and gravitate towards that which is easy or gives us pleasure. In order to avoid procrastination due to the unappealing or difficult nature of a task, commit to complete the most unpleasant jobs first. Dive in with a can-do attitude, and realize that the sooner you start and the harder you work, the sooner it will be over. Tackling the most difficult responsibilities first paves the way for smoother sailing down the road.
If we view a task as being difficult, then that is exactly what it will be for us. Rather than dreading a given assignment, view it as an opportunity to excel. If you are being asked to complete a research assignment, view it as the chance to gain new knowledge and expand your mental boundaries. By diving into a project with enthusiasm, deriving it wherever it can be found, you can turn a chore into pleasure. Try changing your perspective and see if it helps fan the flames of enthusiasm.
There has been much talk throughout history about the destructive nature of procrastination. One of the best ways to view it is that we do not know what fate tomorrow will bring us, so we are best off experiencing everything we can today.
Another irony of procrastination is that so many of us complain about not having enough time, yet spend so much time sitting idly, dreading the work that awaits us. If we just dug our hands in and got started, there likely would be more time found in the day, and we would accomplish a great deal more.
If you find you are having difficulty achieving your goals, take a look at the steps you must take to achieve success and ask yourself if you have fallen into the dark pit of procrastination. Examine what your own reasons for procrastinating are, then vow to yourself that you will not let it kill off your hopes and dreams.
David B. Bohl writes about living your vision at his own blog: SlowdownFAST. If you enjoyed this article, you may like to subscribe to his feed, or read one of his most popular articles, Conflicting Desires: Knowing That We Have Enough vs. Always Wanting to Better Ourselves.
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