“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday”. – Don Marquis
Well, with that quote Don Marquis certainly hit the nail on the skull as far as I was concerned. But that was a short while ago when I was considered the king of procrastinators. I am a changed guy now, but I’ll tell you what – read how I changed, and maybe that could be of some help to procrastinators around the world.
Before I begin snitching on my lazy life, let me first describe procrastination – procrastination is the habit of doing something today that ought to have been done day-before yesterday. Yes, simply speaking, procrastination is the art of keeping on postponing tasks. Now, let’s move on to my story:
Once upon a time, specifically three months back, my routine went something like this – loitering on the couch sipping cups of coffee instead of attending to my daily rest room rituals; bunking exercise, thinking I would catch up on it tomorrow; delaying writing checks that needed immediate attention; faffing around on the couch and staying up late nights watching the TV instead of catching up on my sleep; pushing important tasks such as filing my tax returns till the last date, and so on.
The consequences kept adding up and my slips started showing – my colleagues lost their respect for me as I was fatigued during work hours; my children began treating me as a part of furniture; my friends began avoiding me as I had not bothered to catch up with them for old time’s sake, and every time I gazed into my wife’s eyes, I could read “shape up or ship out” loud and clear. The only guy who loved me was Bud, our dog, but that was not good enough.
From a fun loving human being, procrastination turned me into a lazy dog and from lazy dog I was turning into a sloth pig. I had to do something to shake off my procrastination and restore my self-confidence. I knew my path to salvation lied in my self-determination, but I needed some help. I took my wife into confidence and laid bare my soul, and from there on began my journey of redemption – my wife would now be my guide and mentor and she would help me shrug off my procrastination.
As I look back, I realize that shaking off procrastination is not as difficult as it seems. Here are some of the measures I resorted to – and here’s what I did:
1. First of all, I had to steel my mind. If I had to do it, I had to do it now. This sort of became a chant and though I was a slow starter, I began by immediately attending to important tasks and slowly got a grip on myself.
2. I started thinking positively. I trashed all the negative feelings I had nursed about my boss, my friends, my colleagues and even my wife, and I painted everybody with the color of sunlight and my whole thinking process changed for the better. The cobwebs in my mind cleared and I began looking at people and things in a new perspective.
3. Thinking positive gradually pushed away all the self-defeating thoughts that used to lurk in my mind. “Can’t” became “can; “Shall not” turned into “Will do”, and things began changing because I began getting initial positive feedback from my family members!
4. Gradually, I began planning for tasks and began enjoying the process too! Okay, there was my wife around to goad me on, and my children were looking at their dad in a new light and that somehow gave me the strength to carry on with my anti-procrastination drive.
5. Okay, I’ll be lying if I say that the transformation was magical, because it wasn’t. To begin with, I had to break down important tasks into small do-able pieces and then attend to them. But, with time, I found I could manage monstrous tasks in a snap.
6. Well, I did try out a little meditation and found it had a calming influence on me. Believe me, a calming influence can give you the inner strength to go about your work without anyone’s help or interference.
This is the gist of how I went about busting my procrastination. Today, the sun shines brightly on me as I command the respect of my colleagues and friends and the love of my family.
And, now, if you will excuse me – I’m off to plan my next month’s budget and helping my lovely daughter with her school project work. I began my story with a quote and will now end it with one:
“Someday is not a day of the week”. – Author Unknown