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By Tom Corley

If Procrastination Is So Bad, Why Do So Many Do It? Effective Strategies to Eliminate Procrastination

It’s clear, from numerous studies over the years, that those who make a habit of procrastinating, do not do well in life.

Procrastination is action’s evil twin.

It is the opposite of action.

Delayed action prevents us from moving forward in life in realizing our dreams and accomplishing our goals.

It prevents, even the most talented individuals, from realizing success in life.

It is the reason most are stuck in life.

Those who habitually procrastinate have a built-in “put out the fire” response mindset in meeting the needs of customers, clients, supervisors and co-workers.

Oftentimes, this “put out the fire” response results in poor quality, dissatisfied customers, unhappy clients, frustrated employers and a loss of trust among coworkers.

Too much procrastination can lead to a loss of customers, clients and even litigation, which costs everyone involved time and money.

So, if procrastination is so bad, why do we do it?


Fear of negative feedback

Procrastination is often driven by a fear of negative feedback.

All action has a feedback ripple effect.

Sometimes that feedback is good, sometimes bad.

We fear negative feedback.

However negative feedback is critical to success in life.

It exposes mistakes, which helps us learn and improve.

One Strategy to overcome the Fear of Negative Feedback is to assume you will receive nothing but praise and positive feedback.

This Positive Self-Talk will brainwash you into actually wanting to perform the task, in order to receive your Reward – Praise or Positive Feedback.

Task inflation

Known as Parkinson’s Law, procrastination is often driven by inflating the perception of the work required for tasks.

We may dread taking action because we exaggerate how much time it will take to complete the task.

We exaggerate the imagined physical or mental effort required in order to complete the task or goal.

One strategy to overcome Task Inflation is to baby-step your action.

Commit to just five minutes of working on the task.

After five minutes you will find yourself in a minor flow state and very likely continue to work on the task.

Business Passion

Lack of passion

Procrastination is also often driven by a lack of passion.

We simply like to do the things we like to do and we put off the things we do not like to do.

You always find time for the things you are passionate about.

One strategy to overcome a lack of Passion is to put a daily reminder on your phone, Outlook or whatever Calendar system you employ.

This reminder system effectively nags you into performing the task.

Eventually, you’ll grow tired of the nagging and will do what needs to be done.

Our brains are lazy

Procrastination is, in part, neurological.

Taking action on something you don’t want to do requires that you exert willpower.

Willpower engages your pre-frontal cortex (the conscious part of brain).

This engagement requires the brain to marshal additional fuel (glucose) that the brain will require in order to complete the task.

The brain does not like to ask for more glucose.

That’s why it created habits. Habits limit the consumption of brain fuel and take willpower and discipline out of the equation.

Your own brain is begging you not to engage in any and all activities that need willpower to get you started.

Like Task Inflation, baby-stepping your way into the task is the solution.

Your brain will not fight you if it has the ok to limit action to five minutes.


Lack of urgency

Without a fixed deadline, tasks become less Urgent and are often put off until they become Urgent.

One strategy to create Urgency is to communicate a deadline to someone who eventually needs that task completed, like a client, customer or fellow employee.

If the task does not involve a second party, then, like the Lack of Passion Strategy, put a daily reminder on your phone, Outlook or whatever Calendar system you employ.

This reminder system effectively nags you into performing the task.

Eventually, you’ll grow tired of the nagging and will do what needs to be done.

About Tom Corley Tom is a CPA, CFP and heads one of the top financial firms in New Jersey. For 5 years, Tom observed and documented the daily activities of wealthy people and people living in poverty and his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots” which culminated in his #1 bestselling book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Visit the website:
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