From Procrast to Proact

From Procrast to Proact
“Van uitstel kom afstel” From delay comes decay
This blog comes to you from a professional procrastinator, all-out determined to overcome this malady, this habit and this problem.
When you have a deadline to meet for a project, do you often fall behind schedule and find yourself making excuses for delays you know you could have avoided? Do you put off writing e-mails to friends or distant relatives and then find yourself seeking forgiveness for not keeping in touch?
If your answer is “Yes” to one or both of these questions, then you qualify for membership in The National Procrastinators Club of South Africa, with the motto “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow” And its members promote the philosophy by observing National Procrastinator week whenever they can get around to it.
Procrastinators have discovered that the best labor saving device is the word “Tomorrow” such as, tomorrow I will start my diet, stop smoking, join a gym and so on and as the song goes, “Tomorrow never comes” We joke about it, laugh about it and think it’s excusable because “Everybody” does it, it’s just human nature.
This habit probably does more harm than any other to deprive us of happiness and self-satisfaction and there are ways to overcome this barrier to success. The important thing is to begin, to decide and to DO the thing.
More than two hundred years ago Edward Young called it the “The thief of time” it’s also the thief of success, self-respect and trust in keeping your word and to the promises we make and then don’t deliver.
Falling behind.
Time management experts often turn to government for the blatant examples of contagious procrastination. Expanding bureaucracy has spawned legalism, compromise and reappraisal all of which prevents hasty decisions and allow officials more security less responsibility.
My definition of a bureaucrat is someone who when he sees some light at the end of the tunnel, proceeds to build more tunnel.
Think of our current problems in this country, lack of services and maintenance in almost all sectors, could it be mostly due to procrastination and delays in taking timeous action? When you procrastinate, you’re always behind, and the problems you’re afraid to face today, can only get worse tomorrow. Those who aren’t afraid are the ones who succeed.
Delay can be OK
• Delay can sometimes be good, you’ll suffer less anxiety over delays if you’re aware that it’s not always bad to be late when you have a good reason for delay.
• Delay until tomorrow that which by tomorrow might not have to be done at all.
• Don’t do today what can be done better tomorrow because of better preparation.
Former President Woodrow Wilson on knowing when to delay or take action said “All things come to him who waits provided he knows what he’s waiting for.”
Overcoming inertia.
Humans are not perpetual motion machines, sometimes we must rest, but not rust. The law of inertia says, “A body in motions stays in motion.” Have you ever tried to push a faulty motor car? Takes effort to begin and once it starts to move it’s easier to keep going. So too with projects you tackle. We need to keep moving, growing and taking the right action.
We can think of so many reasons for not starting, we tell ourselves we don’t have the time for the task. It’s not high on our priority list, we think it’s beyond ours capabilities and any other reasons/excuses. And so we move into a time of delay, getting ready, making sure all the traffic lights are green before taking the journey.
Getting started
Start your program to overcome procrastination by keeping a list of the tasks you have been avoiding. Prioritize the items on your list and start with the most important, making a habit each morning to “swallow that frog.” Savor the liberating feeling you’ll experience as you cross completed tasks off your list. Knowing that soon you will have space on your list for new tasks as they arrive. For difficult tasks you may have to allow more time or to do a little each day.
The perfectionists among us are some of the worst procrastinators, they want things to be just right before they start. Consequently the rarely get around to starting, it’s much better to begin and work imperfections out as they arise.
Reward yourself
After completing a task, take a short coffee break, do something else to refresh the mind before tackling the next item on your daily plan. Be aware of the four D’s as well.
• Do what must be done
• Delegate what someone else can do, if your time is worth a high value, consider outsourcing the work at a lower cost.
• Drop what is unimportant
• Decide what is a Must do, a Should do and a Nice to do and continue in that order.
The Quiet Hour
This is a regular morning period for taking care of the day’s busy work without interruptions that may encourage procrastinations like telephone calls, visitors, e-mails and social media Often the productivity of this brief period carries over into the rest of the day, and soon you will only laugh about procrastination, not because it’s a joke but because you have overcome this bad habit.
“Be not afraid of going slowly, only afraid of standing still. Chinese proverb
In pursuit of excellence, keep on moving forward, even if you’re on the right track, you’ll be run over if you just sit there. Start today, and every day resolve to stop procrastinating and become proactive in all that you do and you WILL see the difference.
Martin Louw
Think and grow wealthy, healthy and wise

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