How many of you procrastinate?
Come on now, be honest about this.
That’s what I thought.
I know that I do, and in varying degrees we all do.
My favorite way of putting off something I don’t want to do is to find – or make – work that I do not mind doing. When I engage in this kind of behavior I feel pretty good about myself; I have accomplished something (usually) worthwhile while side-stepping something I don’t want to do.
On the other hand, I am aware that our procrastination(s) only delay the inevitable, that in most situations I need to just make up my mind to get done what needs to be done.
I suspect Mark Twain may have had something like this in mind when he wrote, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Then again, perhaps he wrote those words to keep from doing something else!
But Twain made a good point; the trick is to commit to getting something done.
To do this, sometimes a good swift self-administered kick to the behind – yours and mine – may be in order.
National Kick-Butt Day
Today is National Kick-Butt Day — the perfect time to learn how to stop procrastinating.
It’s not about physically planting a foot in someone’s fourth point of contact; rather, it’s about taking action on tasks or obligations we haven’t accomplished.
This can be anything – a promise we’ve made to someone but have not made good on; excuses we’ve made to delay doing something that needs to be done; or decisions we’ve made to avoid confronting a difficult situation.
In each of these situations, I can hear what my father used to tell me, “Stop stalling and get it done!”
With 78 days left in the year, today offers us the opportunity to recommit to our goals and put some plans into action.
How to Stop Procrastinating
1. Develop A Plan of Action
Whether it’s to begin an exercise routine, enroll in a class, go on a trip, have dinner with a close friend or simply mow the lawn, the goal is to kick butt.
So set and commit to a goal; make a plan.
It’s one thing to think about it, but until you make a commitment and are clear in what you want to achieve, you will not have a plan of action for success.
“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” Napoleon Hill
2. Use the Right Resources
Sit down and write out what you think is needed to make your goal a reality. Organize the materials you need, whether it be a week-by-week exercise plan or a list of materials needed to accomplish a project.
If you do not want to do this on your own or do not know where to begin, consider partnering with a friend or a group that has expertise.
“Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” Christopher Parker
3. Work at It
You’ve set a goal; you’ve done some research; you’ve marshalled your resources. Good! You’ve demonstrated that you know how to stop procrastinating. But knowing isn’t the same as doing. Now it’s time to take the first step toward actually accomplishing a task that you know needs doing.
The concept of “crawl, walk, run” is a good one to keep in mind. Start small and slow and build up to whatever level you need to achieve your success.
“My biggest regret could be summed up in one word, and that’s procrastination.” Ron Cooper
4. Check in With Yourself
Monitor yourself and then measure your progress against what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t let failures stop you; you can learn from them. As Quinn Eagan recently said, “If you can start fixing your failures, your successes will increase.”
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” William James
5. Celebrate Your Success!
For all of you who joined me in raising your hands in answer to my article opening question, when you finish giving yourself that mental kick in the butt, take a moment or two to celebrate!
While my rucks of 10 to 15 miles every Saturday usually leave me feeling as though I’ve literally had my behind kicked, the quiet celebration of enjoying a cold beer is all I need.
Do your best, work to your goals, and then celebrate. This is the spirit of National Kick Butt Day.