Stop Procrastination
Whenever receiving a task, do it immediately or there may be tendency to procrastinate. Be it a task given by the superior or a follow-up with a lazy lawyer. When we start to procrastinate, there seems to be no deadline and going on forever. Never put the work down if it is not finished yet. The more it is delayed, the more difficult to start doing it, not only because of mental resistance, but also due to the accumulation of work. Procrastination is always associated with lateness. How many things we have screwed up due to procrastination?

As a start, immediately do everything that comes into mind. Of course the mind has to be noble in the first place or else bad things that comes into mind may be performed too. We will be amazed later that we have accomplished so many things. When this becomes a habit, then categorize urgency of task.

If we do not do it now, ask ourselves why. Mostly the excuse is not solid. It is amazing to know that people procrastinate for no apparent reason. Perhaps a voice in the head: Nah, it has been delayed this long and nothing happens, so it should be alright if it is delayed for another day...

If we do it immediately, then probably we will not even remember we have done it. Is that not good?

The only things we should procrastinate are entertainment and buying unnecessary things. We should be able to discern which are the things we must do first so just follow the conscience. There is too much entertainment that people tend to go for entertainment first before doing the important. Entertainment is more fulfilling if it comes after completing important tasks at hand. If we want to enjoy the entertainment sooner, then finish the task sooner.

We may say we do not have time to do it now, but note that there is even less time to do it later. With technology coming in, life is not simple anymore. We are always busy and overloaded with information. If we do not do it now, then there will be big possibility that we forget to do it later.

Having a to-do list ensures nothing is left out. However, do not let the to-do list become an excuse to procrastinate. If the items on the list are postponed for more than three days, it is a sign of procrastination.

The disadvantage of procrastination

Stress builds due to the recurrence of unfinished task in mind. In my case it brings impact even to my sleep in which I have many dreams. When a soldier marches into a battlefield with no activity, he feels stressed out. He rather wants to start fighting (and die) immediately than to wait for the moment. That no-action moment is just spooky. Such passive situation decreases the soldier's morale. Soldiers feel good when they actively scout for enemies. That means they are in control of the situation and they decide when to strike. We may feel we are the master of everything if we take the initiative. We may feel like a lowly slave if we let the situation reminds we to do the things that we have been procrastinating.

We will regret for the things that we cannot accomplish at all because it is too late.

Sometimes after procrastination we finally want to do it, the situation suddenly does not allow us to do it. For example there is blackout, system down or sickness. We are not always that lucky.

If the work is started after procrastination, we do not have time to refine our work if we suddenly have good idea. Things done in haste is generally of poorer quality. Or we discover mistake but we do not have time to rectify it.

There may be some specific things that we need in order to accomplish the task but we may not realize until we start doing the tasks. If we start late, then when we realize that we need to get those things there may be no time already to get them.

Accumulated work adds to bigger amount of work and to finish big amount of work is ineffective and there will be mistakes. Do not wait until the work overwhelms us. For example, if we want to learn vocabulary, it is better to learn one word a day then to learn 20 in a day.

With procrastination, we may have untidy place because we never put the thing at the right place immediately when it leaves our hand.

For life-long action, if we do not do it now then we may not be able to do it later due to natural body weakening or accident. For example if we do not start doing exercise now, then time flies so fast that we become unable to do it anymore. And that worsens the already poor health (exercise slows down aging). A vicious cycle.

Some examples of stopping procrastination

When we attend a class we should try understand the subject in the class itself. Never tell ourselves that we can try understand it later. Never walk out of the class with doubt in head.

When we open an email, act on it immediately before closing it. If it is meant to be deleted, delete it right away.

Take shower immediately after reaching home when there is still water supply. We do not know there will be water disruption later at night.

Spring up immediately when we become awake at the time that we should be awake.

Wash the dish immediately after having a meal. Unwashed dishes become really dirty after a few days and we may be even more reluctant to touch them. And the image of dishes keeps flashing in our mind. We rather want to have something more important to flash in our mind instead.

If we plan to do something daily, e.g. push-up exercise, then do it early in the morning. By this, we will not think of it again for the rest of the day. Plus we may not know what will happen to us physically that hinders us from doing the routine. I sprained my arm once in an early morning basketball game but I already did my push-up routine before that.

When we come to think of a friend, contact a him or her immediately to meet up socially. If the meet-up is delayed, he or she may move far away later on.

Last words

Live today colorfully, for tomorrow may never come.
Posted: 2008-01-15; updated: 2015-03-13 by Ong Seng Aun.
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