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Don't Delay, Do It Today!

Procrastination is the nemesis of productivity.

This week we are exploring why we continually delay acting, how it can affect our health, and some simple techniques to help avoid dilly-dallying around tasks.

Why Do We Do It?

The simplistic view of procrastination is that we are either passive or active in our decisions to defer. Passive procrastinators struggle to make decisions and then act upon them. And active procrastinators feel they work best under pressure and make conscious choices to delay tasks. 

Other experts and research suggest a more detailed view summarised by six key types:

The Perfectionist: Exhibit doubts in their ability to complete a task to their own high standards and then delay starting. 

The Worrier: Struggles with stepping out of their comfort zone and so worry about the challenge and delay acting. 

The Pleaser: Can’t or Doesn’t say no, then takes on too much and struggles to complete everything. 

The Dreamer: Has difficulty completing the activity due to a lack of attention to detail.

The Resistor: Don’t like being told what to do, so delay tasks to defy requests.

The Thrill Seeker: Loves the pressure of tight deadlines and delays starting a project until they really must.

The Impact To Our Health

It is not only time that wastes away while we procrastinate. So can our health.

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Image: Gift Habeshaw

Delaying crucial tasks increases stress and anxiety, which can lead to depression in severe cases. Significant stress levels can result in poor dietary choices, leading to unexplained weight gain and overeating. We exacerbate the problem by eating to ease the sense of guilt.

Some research indicates that serial procrastinators fall sick more often than those that act quickly. The pressure and restlessness caused by delaying tasks results in poor sleep patterns, making the immune system vulnerable to attack. Thus, leaving you susceptible to illness more regularly. 

Procrastinators may suffer low self-confidence, poor self-esteem, and general unhappiness.

How Can We Avoid Procrastination

Without a doubt, procrastination can affect your life in many ways.

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Image: Brett Jordan

Here are my top 5 tips to take on the procrastination problem. 

Be Bite Sized

When faced with a significant task, large project, or ambitious goal, it is easy to become overwhelmed. By breaking these challenges into smaller steps, they immediately become more achievable. Your confidence grows as you are constantly progressing towards completion. 

Be Organised 

Plan everything. Having a detailed timeline, clear goals, and realistic and challenging deadlines keeps you motivated to complete the task. Try setting daily, weekly, and monthly targets that give you the urgency to act. 

Be Focused 

Being organised and setting small goals means you can focus on those tasks that are easiest to complete. Momentum begins to build, as does your confidence, and you can always act purposefully.

Be Strong

Make sure your working environment is setting you up for success. Be strong and remove any distractions that can derail you. Avoid having your phone on your desk (or at least switch off notifications), reconsider background music, and remove anything that will affect your focus. 

Be Kind (to Yourself)

Finally, be mindful of the situation and develop self-compassion. Punishing yourself for procrastinating makes you feel more frustrated, stressed, and anxious and worsens your productivity.

So, let’s take on this coming week’s challenges with renewed energy and knock procrastination into touch.

Don’t Delay, Do It Today! 

Have a brilliant week!

David Rogers, Founder & CEO, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up Ltd

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