Procrastination is, I think, a form of self-torture. We may put things off again and again, and thereby escape the task. However, what we cannot escape is the constant inner nagging . The more things we procrastinate about, the longer our ‘to-do’ list becomes. Then guilt starts to build, because we know these things need our attention.
Eventually it is hard to enjoy our leisure time because we are chronically stressed about having so much to do. At this point some people go more deeply into their avoidance behaviors—watching television, spending time on the computer, talking on the telephone—anything to distract themselves.
As you can imagine, the burden of ‘unfinished business’ continues to grow. Sometimes pressure builds due to impending consequences; there will be even more trouble if an assignment or report is handed in late, penalties if bill payments are late, or things are ‘missing’ because we lost track of them.
There is only one cure for this downward spiral: action. Choose one thing you have been procrastinating about and just begin doing it. If you do this, you will have done the hardest part. Once you decide to work on the project, it is often amazing how much easier it is to do than was imagined.
The real bonus comes when the task is completed and we suddenly seem to have a new influx of energy—sometimes enough to propel us into the next overdue project. This is because a tremendous amount of energy can go into blocking ourselves from taking a required action.
Procrastination is like quicksand—it is easy to get caught up in it, but harder to get out. Action is the antidote, and the decision to act can happen in an instant. Just say when.
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