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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 March 31, 2020

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

    There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

    The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

    For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

    2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

    The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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    3. Still No Action

    More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

    4. Flicker of Hope Left

    You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

    5. Fading Quickly

    Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

    6. Vow to Yourself

    Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

    Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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    How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

    Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

    To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

    2. Plan

    Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

    3. Resistance

    Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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    What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

    4. Confront Those Feelings

    Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

    Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

    5. Put Results Before Comfort

    You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

    6. Repeat

    Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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    Final Thoughts

    Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

    If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

    Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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