May 31, 2013

5 Steps to beating procrastination this year

By Amina Edota


Procrastination occurs when significant time elapses between when a person intends to perform an action and when they actually do it. This is a temporal gap according to psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, ‘between intended and enacted behavior’. Delaying or putting off unimportant tasks is not procrastination and good reasons for delaying or rescheduling is ok. It is unnecessary excuses that amount to procrastination.

Throughout the year, but mostly during significant periods whether it is the dawn of a new day, sighting the crescent of the new moon or the beginning of a new year; we make internal promises to begin with a fresh start and make positive changes; and sometimes make resolutions to hopefully last far beyond the start.

We see opportunities for change and build upon habits or start new ones, yet quite easily slip back into familiar old ways of making excuses. We must remember that on the Day of Judgment, before taking any step forward, we will be questioned about what we did with our life and youth. It is imperative to take steps today to tackle habits such as procrastination. Engage with the following steps this year for a new you!

1. Be your own mirror: A normal mirror usually shows things as they are. So when you feel that you are procrastinating, use that inner mirror to seek an answer. If you find yourself putting off things rather unnecessarily, get real and be 100% honest with yourself – do not pretend.

2. Turn searchlights on: Seek to understand ‘WHY’ you are procrastinating. Is it due to the size of work or ability to prioritize? Or does it simply deal with the task being boring or are you underestimating your abilities? For each person and task, the reason(s) may differ, but it is very important to recognize as well as admit to them.

3. Draw an Action plan: Whether it is making a to-do list and then organizing it into high/low priority tasks, breaking huge tasks into smaller ones, making tasks time-bound, using prayer times to organize one’s day, working ahead of deadlines, or focusing on one task at a time, draw up a realistic plan to suit your situation.

4. Rewards & Consequences: It could be a special me-time, or a favorite snack; but the idea is to reward oneself for completing a task or even part of the task and boost motivation from the good feeling. Similarly, it is good to note what the unpleasant consequences are for not completing tasks - such as lost marks or time, cost to self and employers and then talk yourself into action.

5. Accountability: Join a focused group, get a personal coach/mentor, involve a friend/family member who can always check up on you and make sure you are on top on your tasks. Motivation can be derived from networking with people, especially those who can offer sincere reminders about the greater accountability to our creator Allah.

Whatever your present reality, break the bad habit and take action ‘NOW’ rather than later. Remember that when we arrive at the end of our lifetime, the angel of death will not stand by waiting for us to overcome our excuses and perform worthy deeds. Our time will not be delayed even by the fraction of a second, so why delay today when the opportunities are many to invest for our hereafter.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please post in the comments section below :)


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