I had asked my son to take out the garbage the other day and as usual, he pushed it off and then forgot. Now, I’m stuck with smelly garbage for another week, or I need to go to the trouble and expense of driving it to the dump. The lesson to be learned here is not to procrastinate.
Procrastination seems to come easy for many, but when you procrastinate, you quickly jeopardize what I call the five ‘P’s:
Punctuality – The task becomes late, often with consequences.
Performance – The effectiveness of the way the task is done suffers.
Precision – The quality of the task is often compromised.
Price – The task will cost you more time and money in the end.
Personality – The consequences of not competing tasks will always affect you negatively.
Completing something on time is difficult even impossible for many to achieve. Some consider it a chronic problem. Sometimes you miss deadlines due to circumstances out of your control. Often you have so much on your plate that it’s a matter of prioritizing your tasks to make sure the most important get done first, forcing the others to remain unfinished. Regardless, there will always be consequences for unfinished tasks. With personal deadlines, there is more flexibility and leniency. With business deadlines, you rarely have that leniency and must suffer the heavy consequences.
Getting tasks completed on time is a problem for many. Children are a prime example. How often do you need to remind them to complete their chores or finish their school assignments or just to finish what they started? It seems to be an on-going thing. Adults do their share of procrastinating. How many tax returns are filed late every year? How much office work is left undone? Or how often are cleaning and gardening tasks postponed? All of these will have consequences, some worse than others.
What is it that stops us from completing something on time?
Dozens of reasons come up but they usually fall into one of these categories:
- Bored or uninterested in what needs to be done
- Bad working habits
- The task looks daunting or unpleasant
- Fear of failure or not doing it perfectly
- Can’t make decisions
- Last minute ‘thrill’
Regardless of why we procrastinate, the consequences to you and your environment can be immense.
I found the best solution for procrastination is don’t think about it, simply ‘do it.” Whatever needs doing will need to be done eventually. Very few things will fall by the wayside and stay there, or will be done graciously by someone else.
Often leaving the task will cause you more work and headache in the end. If the task feels intimidating then do it one small step at a time. If you can’t do it, seek help. And if you’re like me, who has so many tasks to preform that you can’t possibly get them all done, then at least make sure you get the important ones done first and try to allocate others if possible.
I cannot remember a single time that I have procrastinated and not had to pay a price for it in the end.