Procrastination The Art of Self Sabotage.

Procrastination, who remembers this word as a child?

I sure do, and I still have fond memories of my Mom saying, “David, go and do your chores, don’t procrastinate.”

I also remember my Grandfather telling me, “get things done and don’t put things off until tomorrow”.  

He certainly didn’t procrastinate, he rolled up his sleeves and got things done.

His story is quite incredible and a testimony to not procrastinating.

He was the son of immigrants and due to circumstances didn’t go very far in school.

He worked as a labourer at 14 and as soon as he could, he got his car and truck licence. Back in those days there certainly wasn’t the record keeping and computers that there are today.

He used to tell the story of fronting up at the police station for his driving test. The police officer told him to drive around the block. He did and made it back without hitting anything or anyone and got his licence.

Working Life Begins

Not long after my Grandfather got he license, he got a job driving trucks. He quickly set himself to it & was working 6 and a half days a week.

He soon gained a reputation in the haulage business. In a relatively short time had several of his own trucks on the road.

Don’t Procrastinate On a New Idea

Someone came to my Grandfather with an idea. Movies were becoming very popular and a lot of movie theatres started popping up in the local towns. My grandfather didn’t procrastinate. He started Snack Bars in a whole bunch of theatres.

So, at that stage he had his haulage company going. He had snack bars at numerous locations. Not content with that, he then got into Auto Body Shops and started his own shop.

I remember when I said I was going to join the services he offered to bankroll a business for me. That was a sliding door moment for me. It’s all history now, you can’t live a life of regrets.

The reason I mentioned my grandfather is because he didn’t procrastinate. He had limited schooling but knew that hard work and not procrastinating would pay dividends. He left this world a very successful man.

What is Procrastination

The word procrastination has its beginnings in the Latin word Pro Crastinus. Pro meaning “forward” and Crastinus meaning “of tomorrow.

Procrastination has been around for centuries.  Some people have attributed procrastination as something which is only relatively new.

Greek poet Hesoid wrote about procrastination as early as 800 BC. Since then, it has been referenced many times both in scholarly papers and popular literature.  

One of the leading researches into procrastination is Professor of Psychology at DePaul University, Joseph Ferrari. Professor Ferrari has stated, “What I’ve discovered is while everybody may procrastinate, not everybody is a procrastinator”. 

Procrastination can also come from a lack of self-confidence. We don’t have the confidence to tackle the task so we simply put it off. It can come from a feeling of overwhelm. We don’t know where to start so therefore we simply don’t.

Procrastination Is Not a Gene

We are not born with the procrastination gene, it is more a habit that then gets entrenched in our minds and then becomes our reality.  It is not a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse that has been passed along generations.

Procrastination is a mind issue and is not due to a lack of time management skills. In essence it is putting off a task that has some importance to pursue other tasks of less importance. One of the ingredients of procrastination is the conscious realisation of  delaying the important task which should have priority over the less important task.  

Research has shown us that up to 20% of the population come under the category of chronic procrastinators.

Procrastination is not only about putting off tasks around the home and workplace. A sinister aspect of procrastination is putting off Medical Practitioners appointments, legal appointments and other necessary appointments which can all have very negative consequences on our lives and the lives of others.

Workaholics can also be affected by procrastination too. Think about it, we all need down time and vacation time to refresh, yet many workaholics will procrastinate in having down time and vacation time. It will be detrimental to their long-term health, productivity and welfare. 

It is important not to confuse due diligence with procrastination. Sometimes you have to perform due diligence on a task or project for obvious reasons. So don’t just jump headlong into a task or project without taking on the necessary due diligence.

Procrastination & Lack of Procrastination Can Change Lives

Procrastination will not lead you into your destiny or build the lives of people around you.

I just wonder how different my mother’s brothers and sisters lives would have been if my grandfather had procrastinated.

The greatest ability that we have is the ability to decide. But the greatest inability we have is the inability to decide. Both have powerful consequences, I am sure you will agree.

In businesses and other organisations procrastination and indecision come under the guise of “let’s set up a committee, or “let’s come back to it later on” or “let’s do a survey”.  One of the advantages smaller companies and organisations have is that decisions can be made very, very quickly thus eliminating procrastination.

Obviously such strategies have to be used in some organisations but it is imperative to not use them to delay decisions.

Don’t Procrastinate

When I speak to people at live events, virtual and though other means I hopefully bring them to a point of decisions in life. They can’t move forward unless they choose to do so. There can never be an opportunity unless a decision is made. There can never be prosperity unless a decision is made.

Destinies can never be built on procrastination. Procrastination will bring an organisation to its knees and will equally stop an individual’s future.

Procrastination is a luxury effective leader and those wanting to succeed do not have.

You’re Got This