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How Do I Stop Procrastinating When I’m Surrounded By Procrastinators?

How Do I Stop Procrastinating When I’m Surrounded By Procrastinators?


    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.

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    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.

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    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?”

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    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.

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    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)

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    Last Updated on June 17, 2019

    Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

    Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

    How do you usually go about your day?

    Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

    We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

    To me, that seems… off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

    Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

    With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

    So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

    Work Life Harmony Explained

    The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple. With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

    Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

    Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

    Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

    He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

    He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

    As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

    Rethink Time Management

    Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives? Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

    This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

    With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

    Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

    As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

    In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

    When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

    Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

    Have Passion for What You Do

    Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life. One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

    For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

    So, think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

    Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

    Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

    When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

    Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

    Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

    If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

    Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

    Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

    Delegate When You Need To

    Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

    If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

    At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

    While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

    Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

    If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

    Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

    Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be. Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

    It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

    These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony. 

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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