There isn't a person alive that doesn't procrastinate during their lifetime. According to Webster's Dictionary, the word procrastinate stems from the Latin word "procrastinatos," meaning "to put forward until tomorrow."
So what makes us put off the things that we know we should do? The number one answer might be that we all have a tendency to put off a big project or tend to a difficult yet important responsibility because we perceive it as painful. Consequently, we might steer ourselves into using the time to do other things that are easy, fun and most likely more enjoyable.
Did you ever notice how you can always find the time for the easy and pleasurable stuff? You will never see a golfer put off playing nine or eighteen holes with his buddies on Saturday morning, or a woman put off getting a manicure or massage?
Like magnets, humans are attracted to ease. We would much rather be at ease then struggle or put out effort. Any task that takes us out of our comfort zone becomes a candidate for procrastination. We like our routines, we like our habits, and we like the status quo.
Another reason why people procrastinate is due to the way that they approach their task. A person may need to lose some weight, but has constantly procrastinated going to the gym. This person knows that he or she needs to lose 25-30 pounds, but because it seems so overwhelming to do so, the act of going to the gym never happens.
Well, here's my cure for the age old problem of putting off the things we know we should be doing:
1) Break down the task into small steps that you could start on IMMEDIATELY and experience a quick achievement. For example, if you need to lose 25-30 pounds, set a goal to lose 1 pound every two weeks. Your small steps will entail going to the gym 3 times per week. And when you go, you ONLY concern yourself with that specific day and the small tasks tied to small goals. This first step is very important. Many times, with procrastination, the challenge lies in just getting started. Once you get going, you've broken your inertia and it's off to the races. So make your tasks small, concern yourself with today, and watch all of your today's add up to your final goal.
2) Reward yourself for completing small tasks with something enjoyable, and view your achievements as pleasurable. There is a unique satisfaction from rewarding yourself after completing a task. You experience a special feeling; one of accomplishment and peace of mind in knowing that nothing is hanging over your head. The pressure is off and you don't worry about a thing.
To illustrate the rewards of not procrastinating, think back in time when we were growing up. When we were teenagers in school, we might have attended classes because we had to, not because we really wanted to. Instead of wanting to learn, we crammed material at the last minute just to pass a test and avoid the pain of failing. We may have developed the habit of procrastination without even realizing it. Don't follow this path for life. It's a stressful and ugly way to live.
If instead we knew why we needed to learn a topic and really wanted to learn the material, we would have had a different attitude. If our teachers assigned us many small tasks that could be done quickly, we may not have put them off. If our parents rewarded us often for completing small tasks on time, we would experience pleasure by completing small completing tasks. If we believed we could be wealthy and happy in the future by completing small tasks on-time, we might have found pleasure in getting all our stuff done quickly.
Many successful people break the mold. They realize that we live in a world with run-down public schools, parents who make mistakes and environments that breed mediocrity. But something inside these unique people desires the good life. They begin to teaching themselves, realizing that their parents did their best, and take total responsibility for themselves. They find what motivates them and the habit of procrastination melts away. This two step cure really works. Try it today!