I was meeting the new lady I’m dating at our local federal tax center before going out to dinner with her. This is because when it comes to filing her income tax returns, she’s a chronic procrastinator. This particular day was the deadline for filing tax returns and when we spoke just the night before, my lady friend revealed that she had not even started on her income tax yet.
Because of her procrastination, she would have to get to one of those tax preparation services before work and pick up her completed return after the work day is over. The plan was to meet her at the federal tax office where she will be dropping off her completed return.
When I got to the building, the staff already set up huge bin containers in the lobby for people coming in to drop off their returns on deadline day. As I was sitting in the lobby waiting for my lady to arrive, I was actually quite shocked to see a steady, continuous stream of people coming in to drop off their returns.
The staff told me that this would be the scene all through the evening until midnight when the deadline passes. So it seems that my lady is in good company of many procrastinators who also put off doing their taxes until last minute.
Because procrastination is often a general habit, I’m willing to bet that these folks are major procrastinators in other areas of their lives besides just getting to their income taxes on time. And since many people are often surrounded by other procrastinators, the habit of putting off things they don’t like doing becomes quite contagious.
Some of the government staff actually joked to some of the public, “See you next year!”
So this implies that the staff already knows that the procrastinators will likely repeat the same thing next year and make a frenzied run into the tax center just before the deadline.
So if you can relate to this, you might be asking yourself, “How do I stop procrastinating?”
Solution To Procrastination
Many productivity experts will suggest that a way to beat procrastination is to break up challenging tasks into little pieces. It is quite often easier to get little successes which will all add up over time to become a big success. Indeed this is helpful but I personally think that in order to really get over major procrastination, much more drastic measures must be taken.
What I always suggest to procrastinators during my talks to audiences is to spend a bit less time around other procrastinators and instead, actively spend more time with people who are action takers. Like-minded people tend to motivate each other and if you get involved with the right group, you could end up with a few new friends who will be happy to constantly keep you in check.
This is a secret weapon for many successful people who can’t afford to let procrastination creep back into their lives. They use such groups of other action takers to keep motivating them to push on. In fact, in many groups, people will go as far as helping each other keep accountable for their actions and more importantly, non-actions. Now that’s effective teamwork for success.
We see these types of interactions between people in high level sports teams as well as business groups (mastermind groups). People are there to push each other and get pushed to keep procrastination down to a bare minimum.
Sometimes it costs membership fees to be in certain groups but if it’s the right group that can influence you to take action rather than procrastinate, the money is well worth it. I’m in such a group myself that costs me $2,400 per year to participate in (I do what I advocate here).
So hopefully my new lady friend will start to procrastinate less if she hangs around more action oriented people. I’m sure that she doesn’t want to spend another year running around like a headless chicken during the income tax deadline.
(Photo credit: Colleagues at Water Cooler via Shutterstock)