The difference between this guy and his twin brother is that fear is easily noticeable and can be felt with physical signs such as sweating of the palms, shaking, heart racing etc. Procrastination on the other hand is subtle, always disguising himself in excuses. Most of the time, it simply involves putting off important stuff to do the non-important things or doing the pleasurable things instead of the less pleasurable ones, such us watching TV instead of finishing homework.
The very first step to managing procrastination is realizing we are in it. How many times do you feel like passing the pub to gulp a bottle when you know very well you should be working on your business plan? How many times do you put off a task at work till your manager threatens to sack you, then you wake up very early to hurry through it and finish? How many times do you set up a wake-up alarm and once it goes off, you put it off violently, preferring to continue cuddling whoever or whatever in bed? These are indications of procrastination, if you can spot them and thwart them in advance, the better you will be at accomplishing your life goals.
While investing and managing money, it is very important to ensure that you follow through with your plans. Oops, this is where procrastination starts. You put planning off indefinitely and never get time to come around to it. You delay planning how to increase your incomes, manage your spending and organize your investments.
After putting serious planning off indefinitely, you perpetuate non action by scribbling broad statements such us, I must hit the gym in January to improve my health, or I must finish the business plan in order to source for funding for my venture. These broad statements only help you feel fake good, but the message they send to the brain is, “I don’t intend to do anything serious around gym this year or around this business plan”. At the end of the year, none of these will have been accomplished and instead you will be looking to start new different things.
Replace these broad plans with specific ones such as I must hit the gym by 5.30pm everyday starting 1st January, or I must work on the business plan for one hour at 6.00am every morning for four days starting 15th June, then we are more likely to achieve this objective.
The need for instant gratification where you want to watch TV on the 1st January or sleep some more on that 15th June will not disappear by the mere fact that you have it written down, in fact, on that material day, the urge to skip and start later will be bigger, and you need to put your foot down and start on it. Starting is always the harder part and once you start, you then just flow. This is a powerful way to beat procrastination, just start.
Procrastinators have many reasons why not start including vague ones such as conditions are not right, you don’t have all the information and or you don’t have all the resources. Look at the benefits of achieving this task and be motivated from the expected gain, which should help you think beyond the deficiencies.
Once started with an action, keep at it and keep distractions away from you. The TV, the attention seeking insecure girlfriend, the music, the friends etc. just tell them you are busy. Whatever distracts and pulls you away from what is important should be removed to ensure your only focus is on the task at hand. You will quickly start hitting some milestones and your mind and body will react by providing you with more fuel to continue until the task is delivered and you will feel very self-gratified. Keep grinding, this is the third way to keep procrastination at bay.
Another procrastinators trap is always shifting the importance of stuff in your life. You are always busy because you have things to do all the time. This is because you replace important tasks with pleasurable ones, sometimes just coach bathing, remote in hand. When the deadline for the important task comes, you run around like a naked witch to accomplish. Most of the times you will miss the deadline, or will not allocate a deadline to the task. It is important to remember that tasks that have no deadlines are wishes and will not be accomplished. Defining the deadline for important stuff in life is the fourth way to kill procrastination.
Finally, it is important to recognize that procrastination is a psychological condition hence the best way to manage is to get into the habit of doing bits of things at a time and celebrating small achievements because the difference between an investor and a wannabe is that the investor makes small investments of time, energy and money monthly, while the wannabe waits for all conditions to be right before he makes a move. Conditions never get right, we just have to make that first move to press towards our goals.