How to beat procrastination once and for all
Is procrastination robbing you of your dreams and financial goals?
You understand the important financial concepts, have an excellent relationship with money and have the time to tackle important matters like managing your finances…but just won’t get down to do it! It is easier for you to go to the gym, read your book or visit family (all important things to do by the way) but manage to put off budgeting for weeks turned to a couple of months. Each passing day, you tell yourself that tomorrow is another day. Am I writing about you?
The late Dr. Myles Munroe said that the graveyard is one of the richest places on the earth because lots of ideas and dreams are buried there. Take Leonardo Da Vinci for instance. He created some of the world’s famous pieces of art. However, he was not the most focused of people despite his huge success. It is said that he only completed a total of 20 paintings in his life because of procrastination. His most famous work, ‘The Mona Lisa’, took him 16 years to complete! ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ took 13! Apparently, one sponsor threatened to bankrupt him in order to get him to finish a commissioned piece of work. Today, many of his famous works are technically unfinished!
Can you imagine that? What tragedy? Da Vinci took to his grave a lot of talent that could have inspired generations.
‘Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well’ – Mark Twain
Procrastination is avoiding to do a task that needs to be accomplished. It is an intentional delay of starting or finishing a task(s) in spite of consequences.
Some of the root causes of procrastination are:
- Fear of failure – This is the feeling of inadequacy to perform necessary tasks and dread being a flop.
- Fear of success – This is fear of financial success owing to the possibility of rejection by low-achieving, unambitious family and friends. People tend to raise their expectations of successful people. Fear of success is often fueled by the need to belong.
- Shortsightedness – This is to avoid the inconvenience, the sacrifice or other short-term unpleasantness associated with achieving one’s goal. For example, procrastinating going back to school thereby giving up weekends.
“I shoulda, coulda, woulda…”
How important is your dream to you?
How many times have you had an original idea, only to sit on it and later hear that someone else had put it into action? Avoid the self-kicking that often takes place thereafter.
So, how can you shake off procrastination?
Set short deadlines!
This has worked really well for me.
I learnt from a friend that the Pareto 80/20 rule applies to procrastination too:
- 80% of a task is completed in the last 20% of time allocated to it.
- 20% of a task is completed in the first 80% of time allocated to it.
This means that if you have a month to complete a task, 80% of the work will be done within the last 6 days!
The simple action of setting short deadlines will prompt you to start working towards the completion of pending tasks or projects. Let’s test this:
- Pick a task/ project that you need to complete.
- Set a deadline on which to have this task completed.
- Cut the deadline by half and start working on it today.
Effects of procrastination could be dire. Could you be putting off settling that credit card balance that is churning out larger interest payments daily? Could you have put off registering for NHIF ignoring the possibility of hospitalization? Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Set short deadlines to whatever you are procrastinating, then get to work. You will thank me!
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