Procrastination by Jim Britt

Jim Britt

To be successful at anything you don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.

Which one are you?

Type D – I will wait and see what happens!

Type C – I am getting ready to make it happen as soon as…!

Type B – I am going stand on the sideline and watch it happen for others, then if it works for them, I’ll consider it!

Type A – I make it happen by taking action now!

Procrastination…we all do it in varying degrees.

We put off until tomorrow, until the first of the year, until next week, until I have the time, the money, etc., what could have been started today.

Procrastination is a dream destroyer. It’s like a big bomb exploding violently on the things you deeply cherish. Boom!! (loud);-)) after the explosion, all that is left are regrets. Regrets that make you sick inside. It’s like an internal earthquake that leaves you feeling empty.

When you procrastinate you walk 2 steps forward, then retreat 3 steps back.

Procrastination will wipe out your bank account.

Think about how much money it has cost you? What could you have done with that extra money, what could you have given your family? How many people could you have helped with that extra time? How much more could you have enjoyed your life?

If you have this disease, what if you don’t overcome it?

Frightening huh when you think about it? How will you feel being in this same place two years from now because you put things off? Not good I suspect. Feel it now. Will you accept it?

Are you ready to change and not procrastinate? Are you ready for an awesome day, month, year?

What does it take? Concentration. Tenacity. Discovering how to concentrate, take action now, and not procrastinate is the key. Your progress can happen as fast as Carl Lewis ran the 100-yard dash if you just get it going.

Time is always ruthlessly passing you by. It waits on no one. Time doesn’t procrastinate…it moves! Procrastination is the thief of time, profit, and living the life you want. Run from it. Now. You with me?

How do you overcome procrastination?

First of all, it’s a habit. A habit is any action that you have performed so often that it becomes second nature. In other words, you aren’t consciously aware that you are doing it.

If you consider a habit to be undesirable, like procrastination, then you may label it a “bad habit”. On the other hand, some habits are good, and it would be hard to live without them.

Like the habit of driving a car. You wouldn’t want to get in your car each time and say, “now how do I drive this?” There are a lot of habits that just plain make life easier. However, people spend countless hours and dollars each year attempting to break bad habits and often without much success.

Why? Because there is no magic bullet. Let’s face it. Change is hard work, and there is no short cut except to just hit it head-on. The steps a person needs to take, however, can be very simply outlined.

To effect a change in habits, to stop procrastination, you first need to bring the action back into the realm of consciousness and regain the ability to make choices. Could be as simple as turning off your alarm and hitting the snooze button three times, then getting up in a panic because you are running late, instead of simply turning off the alarm and getting out of bed when you know you should.

The first step in breaking a bad habit like procrastination is to look at why you find this action so compelling.

In other words, what’s the payoff for doing this seemingly negative thing? Since you’ve already classified this as a “bad” habit you may be tempted to say there isn’t a payoff. How could you get a payoff for something you don’t want? But if you look closer, you’ll find the payoff. There is always a payoff.

Let’s say you are in sales and your bad habit is not following up with your prospect in a timely manner. You procrastinate. What’s in it for you to put it off? The payoff could be that you get to avoid the possible rejection of a “no.” The payoff could be that you get to spend more time on the internet doing things that make it seem like you are busy, or simply that you get to avoid the pain of possible rejection!

On the other hand, take a look at the tradeoff. What is it that you are losing by procrastinating? This step should be easier. Just think why it is that you consider it a bad habit in the first place. Not following up is a bad habit because if you continue, you’ll end up with no results in building your income. You are trading a temporary release of staying busy at something, and putting it off, that produces nothing for growing your business by following up.

Now that you have weighed both sides of the issue, your payoff and your tradeoff, it’s time to make a choice. Once you are aware that you have this bad habit, it’s no longer an involuntary act because now you know that you are making a conscious choice every time you procrastinate. You are choosing what you value more…the payoff or the tradeoff!

Once it becomes a conscious act, each time you start to procrastinate now you have to consciously choose. Which do you value more?

Do you value the relief of “busyness” or do you value growing your income?

We all have habits that may not be serving our best interests. The good thing is that all habits, good or bad, are self-imposed, and they can be changed. To help you to recognize, not just procrastination, but some other habits that may cripple your chances at success, here are some specific things you can consider.

The habit doesn’t accomplish anything at all. It only costs you time, energy, and money.

Maybe you have a habit of making personal calls during the time you have designated to make business calls… or doing non-business activities during the time you are supposed to be working at your business. With closer observation, you may discover that this habit is fueled by fear…a fear of being rejected by someone when you make a business call, or maybe a fear that your business may not succeed. So, you use personal calls as a way of justifying to yourself, and others, that you are busy making calls or doing business activities. This could lead to a justification of why your business is not working.

If you want to overcome procrastination or any other bad habit you must look for the truth not hide from it. Then you have to take action that leads you toward what you want instead of away from it. All I’m saying is to become more self-observant of how you may be coming across to others or hurting your own productivity by procrastinating.

You get three primary payoffs for breaking bad habits.

One, you get rid of something you didn’t want or need in the first place.

Two, you develop new insights into how you jeopardize your productivity and come across to others.

Three, it will greatly improve your chances of being successful at anything you do.

I wish I could say that you could break unwanted habits without using any willpower, but you can’t.

You basically have to go “cold turkey.” Just quit. You have to begin by making a fundamental choice not to have the habit. Being a procrastinator or not being a procrastinator are two different choices. You can’t be both. You have to make a choice, a decision, to honor your productivity and credibility more than the habit. Success comes easy if you leave no room for failure.

There are all kinds of habits. Some are good. Some are essential. Some are not so good. But the one thing they all have in common is they are voluntary and artificial… and created and controlled by you. You create the bad and the good, and you can live without the bad ones. All it takes to change them is a decision to do so backed with some discipline.

A habit is only as good as its premise. Most of us have habits that we don’t like that we would like to get rid of, habits that we’ve been meaning to break, “one of these days.”

If you want success faster, now’s the time. Breaking a bad habit like procrastination has its own reward, and then some. It will improve your business, your success, your finances, your life, and your personal growth overall. The intention is the starting point for change.

In order to make a permanent change, you must first have the intention to understand yourself. Self-knowledge cannot be given to you by learning a system, or from someone else. You must discover it for yourself.

If your intention to know yourself is weak, or your intension to change is weak, then just a casual wish or hope to change is of very little significance. Without knowing who you are, and what habits you need to change, there is no foundation for correct thinking. There is no reality. Without a foundation for correct thinking based upon self-knowledge, there can be no correct action. And without correct action there can be no change.

The worst bad habit of all is procrastination. It’s a disease and it’s one that will absolutely destroy your chances at success in any endeavor.

Why do we fall into the procrastination trap time after time? Because procrastination becomes a way of coping with the emotions and physical symptoms that accompany fear. It may bring some temporary relief, but we eventually wake up the following day and find that no boy scouts have dropped in overnight and done our work for us.

Remember, fear is a made-up story. It is not real until you make it so.

Most importantly, the next time you catch yourself saying, “I can do this later,” STOP and think “Just get it done now!” Push on through the feelings and the urge to procrastinate and do it now. The feeling you get when you finish will be so much better than any relief you get from procrastinating.

Here’s a worthwhile approach

Procrastinating: you say to yourself“I must get this job done right or I’ll be a total failure. But there’s just so much work to do, I’ll wait until tomorrow when I am feeling better and can do a better job.”

The reality: Not doing your work now will lead to a sloppy, rushed job just before your deadline and will leave you feeling too anxious to do a proper job.

Strategy: Look at why you are procrastinating, then move forward with confidence.

Let’s make today, just 1% or more, better than yesterday. Think about the cumulative effect over a year of just 1% better each day.

Jim Britt
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