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Procrastination or Prioritizing?

Aug 17, 2007
Rhonda, a solopreneure, started to write a paper for her MBA program at ten in the evening. She worked until 1:00 a.m.. Then, satisfied that the paper could be turned in class the following evening, finally went to bed.

The next morning at work, feeling exhausted, she berated himself for waiting until the last possible time to get her homework done. She always seemed to procrastinate about something important, and then push himself beyond her limits to get it done.

She seldom kept her promise to herself to start things early.

Rhonda discussed she problem with her coach. As they explored procrastination, Rhonda learned why people often have trouble starting difficult, unpleasant, or time consuming tasks.

They usually say to themselves "I should..." or "I have to..." and ignore the little voice that says, "I DON'T WANT TO!" After all, it's not acceptable not to want to do those things. When people procrastinate, that little voice takes charge.

There are many possible reasons for not wanting to do a task:
- Sometimes a person has decided to do a task to meet a long term objective, and immediate short term projects seem more pressing.
- Some people don't want to do a task because it is inherently unpleasant.
- Others don't want to do it because they are afraid of failing and looking bad.
- Often people don't want to do a task because it is about someone else's agenda and not their own. They said yes to a request they really wanted to refuse.

Sometimes people fear starting a large, complicated project because they simply don't know how to organize and manage the task. They may believe that not having enough time will excuse them from not meeting their own very high standards.

In today's busy world, people often believe they need to do more than it is possible for one human being to accomplish in any reasonable period of time. The reasons for procrastination are as varied as the people who procrastinate.

Rhonda had lots of information and a few suspicions about why she kept putting off important tasks.

She made a list of the commitments in her life. Work, school, her fiance, her community service activities, and her loyalty to her swim team. She couldn't remember the last time she had taken any time to just relax. She was clearly over-committed, and her short-term activities were interfering with her long-term goals.

She discussed the situation with her fiance, who helped her set priorities about what things would matter most to both of them.

She decided that both her business and school were important to her long-term success, and that she really preferred hiking with her fiance to swimming. She also reluctantly decided to postpone the community service activities until she completed her MBA.

In the following few weeks, she found that she was able to keep her commitments to himself, and even take a few evenings off just to relax.
About the Author
Communicate skillfully about sensitive subjects in business situations. Have the challenging conversations that lead to cooperation and success. http://www.DareToSayIt.com/blog
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. is a Master Certified Coach and communication expert. Dr. Weiss has spent 35 years helping clients resolve conflict in business and personal relationships. Email feedback@laurieweiss.com
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