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Are You a Routine or Periodic Procrastinator?

By Tim Connor, CSP

Why do people procrastinate? Is it their fear of the unknown? Could it be acceptance of the status quo even though their current circumstances are less than desirable or do these people just have too much on their plate? For every procrastinated decision, action, or behavior change there are any number of perceived legitimate reasons as well as excuses that people give themselves to justify their lack of action.

As I was thinking about this article the thought occurred to me that even though I tend to be “action oriented” I too have put off many decisions and actions during my life and the question – why – kept rearing it’s ugly head.

I was reminded of the old story I heard years ago about a Native American Chief who whose braves were surrounded by the cavalry. When one of the braves asked the chief, “what are we going to do,  we are surrounded and out- numbered? The chief responded, “we are going to attack.”  The brave lost it and said, “you are crazy, we will all be killed.”   The chief said, “it is better to take a dangerous chance than sit around waiting for something worse.”

That says it in a nutshell. Typically when people procrastinate things don’t get better but worse. So, why do so many people put things off? Don’t have a clue. So, I asked myself why do I? I came up with a new concept. Those of you who have been reading my tips for several years know that from time to time I invest stuff. So, there are routine procrastinators and periodic procrastinators.

Periodic procrastinators put things off from time to time when they are just too busy, stressed out or just need a break from the real world. It’s the routine procrastinators who have the bigger problem.

Procrastination: to postpone doing something, especially as a regular practice.

Why do people do this? Generally they believe that if they put things off they will keep control of their lives and won’t have to face uncertain circumstances.   People put off:

  • Starting something new.

  • Stopping an old pattern or behavior.

  • Making difficult decisions.

  • Dealing with difficult circumstances.

  • Starting anything over – career, job, new way of life, relationship.

  • Ending something – same as the previous item.

Again why? Mostly fear, fear of the unknown. Their attitude is, I can handle this, whatever this is, but I am not sure what the “new circumstances will look like so let’s just keep everything as it is even thought - what is - might be stressful, difficult, negative or even destructive.

My solution in the routine areas of life is –  just do it now. In some of the more challenging life areas a - do it now - philosophy without adequate thinking, evaluation, preparation, goal setting, introspection or planning can in fact cause more trouble in the future that what is going on in the present.

Each of these requires individual thought so as to ensure that any future change ends up being better than what was the reality in the past.

So, are you a routine procrastinator or just a periodic one?

Read other articles and learn more about Tim Connor.

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