I read a great book recently about procrastination and how to get it out of your life for good by creating new habits. This book is called “Eat This Frog” by Brian Tracy, and it is one that I have read before. But no matter how much we all think we are “cured”, I have found it is in reality an ongoing project for most people. I have also found that procrastination seems to crop up in completely different areas of our lives from time to time and causing us to need a “refresher course”.
Why is Procrastination So Dangerous?
First, there is the obvious fact that if you keep putting things off you will look up one day only to realize you have left a piece of your life behind that “screams lack of accomplishment”. You will recognize that you have been hanging out with the thief of time. All those big goals you wrote down on paper at the end of the year are not really one bit closer to being completed than the day you wrote them down.
What did you see when you looked back at your first quarter goals? Did you accomplish all that you set out to do?
Secondly, because it “messes with your mind; this is especially true when it comes to comparing yourself to others. So many times we fall into the trap of assuming other people are doing things better than we are when in reality, they may just be doing things differently. They may have established good habits they follow every day which allows them to accomplish more and grow faster than most everyone else.
Success is rarely an accident; it is almost always by design. Procrastination works pretty much in the same way. We have to plan to get things done. And it is this plan that will set you apart from your competition.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
There is just no way I could say this as well as he did so I am going to quote Brian:
“A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is vagueness, confusion, and fuzzy-mindedness about what you are trying to do and in what order and for what reason.”
To paraphrase, we lack clarity.
The Plan For the Cure to Overcome Procrastination
Only about 3% of the people have clear, concise written goals or “their plan to get from A to B”. It’s not too hard to imagine why those same people tend to achieve 5 to 10 times as much as those without written goals. So once we have a plan, how to we create new habits that stick?
According to Brian Tracy, there should be 3 distinct parts to this plan or the Three D’s of forming new habits:
Decision, Discipline and Determination
- You have to make a decision to develop the habits needed to kick procrastination to the curb by developing strong focus and concentration on the job at hand.
- Next you have to discipline yourself to practice these habits until they become second nature. For instance; if checking email is the first thing you do in the morning, discipline yourself not to do that until your big frogs are checked off the list.
- The third part is having the determination to take these steps each and every day until they become a permanent part of your personality.
Curing this habit of procrastination will increase your overall levels of satisfaction in every area of your life whether it is your business or your personal life. Here are the two most important steps he has laid out:
- You have to “Eat that Frog” the first thing in the morning. Don’t sit and stare at the frog for very long; just eat it. So what is the frog? It is the biggest, most important job you have to get done that day.
- And if you have to eat two frogs that day, eat the ugliest one first. It seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Just get it over with. How many times have each of us wasted a good portion of a day putting off something that we just didn’t want to do? It’s so easy to let busyness get in the way of growing our business.
Who Do You Want to BE?
It really comes down to just this one thing for all of us; you have to decide, “Who do we want to be”? We are back once again to clarity. Never mind what other people will think. When we are able to clearly visualize and articulate who we want to be, then we will have our “why” that will enable us to do the work need to be the best we can be.
I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time”.
Some of the things you will learn in this book are:
- How to clearly decide what you want and how this will change your business
- How to plan every day in advance on paper with your most important tasks at the top
- How to apply the 80/20 rule to everything realizing that 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results.
This book will also make you realize that as one person, you just can’t do it all. You are going to need some help.
Photo: Photo Extremist