Stop Paying the Price for Your Procrastination

What do you postpone? Prospecting? Calling past clients? Going to the dentist? Paying your bills? Calling a loved one?

One of the ways REALTORS® create stress is through procrastination.  When you say, “I just don’t have the time (or energy) to deal with it now,” you “pay the price” for your procrastination in several different ways.

First, when you focus on a task and decide not to act on it, you've wasted time that you could have used to complete the task or to work on something else.  Second, the more you procrastinate, the more difficult it becomes to take action to complete the task.  Third, delaying the task often increases the “cost” of completing it, much like paying a credit card late increases the cost of carrying the debt.

What can you do to reduce the procrastination in your life? Follow the strategies below:

1. Increase your awareness of when you procrastinate.  Note how often you decide to postpone tasks as well as how you feel when you make the decision not to act on it in a timely manner.  Notice which types of tasks you normally complete as well as those where you consistently procrastinate.

2. Delegate or dump areas where you consistently procrastinate.  Many times we’re trapped by our own belief system that tells us we “should” engage in a particular activity.  For example, you may believe you have to bake a homemade cake for a special birthday when one from the market would be just as good with a lot less effort.

3. Tackle the simple items first.  If you try to stop procrastinating all at once or tackle the hardest items first, you’ll only create more struggle and stress.  Instead, start with what you can easily handle and then move to the more difficult items.

4. Put a “time limit” on what’s not handled.  For example, if you don’t read this month’s magazines, put them in next month’s stack.  If they are not read by the end of the next month, discard them.  Allowing them to pile up is a constant reminder of your procrastination and only makes you feel worse as the pile continues to grow.

5. Prioritize what’s most important and focus on completing those items.  The 80-20 rule says that 80% of the benefit comes from the top 20% of your activities.  Conversely, the bottom 20% produces less than 1% of benefit.  For the next week, eliminate the bottom 20% of your activities that produce the least benefit.  Reducing how much you have to do frees you up to deal with the important items you’ve been procrastinating about doing.

Reducing procrastination requires a series of small steps over a long period of time.  If you’re ready to stop procrastinating, how about completing one item that you’ve been putting off right now?