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If you are a procrastinator, you likely feel guilt for being one.
After all, no one calls us a procrastinator as a compliment, including our self. However, this attitude might come from a skewed view of procrastination.
The traditional view of procrastination is that it is a character flaw. Those who do it need to get their act together, and stop being lazy, or fearful.
Author, and director of the ToDo Institute, Gregg Krech, presents a different view of procrastination than the one we are accustomed to. In his view, all people are procrastinators.
Everybody procrastinates out of necessity since we cannot possibly do everything that needs to get done each day. Our list of tasks waiting for attention is typically long, but our time to do them is limited. When we decide to work on one thing, it means we are putting off all the others—there is not way around this.
To be skillful and wise procrastinators we must become good at choosing what we do next. If there are 47 items on our to do list, the one we select needs to be the most important to accomplish now since the other 46 things will be put off.
A skillful procrastinator must also tolerate unpleasant feelings that might arise with the thought of doing a task. Though the anticipation of an activity, such as paying bills or applying to colleges, might stir feelings of confusion, dread, anxiety, or lethargy, a skilled procrastinator will complete the task anyway, as soon as it becomes the priority.
Taking constructive action, even when feeling uncomfortable about it, is what most unskilled procrastinators need to learn. By accepting that sometimes unpleasant feelings will accompany our efforts to take care of business we can become excellent procrastinators, accomplishing today what needs to be done today.
When thinking over your list of to dos, the best thing to consider is not how you feel about the tasks, but which activity is the most crucial to accomplish. You cannot get it all done today, but you can focus on what matters the most.
“What we have to do is be able to make good choices of what we are going to procrastinate about,” writes Krech. “We have to do what is most important to do at any given moment and skillfully put off doing the other 79 things we could be doing. We have to become good at procrastinating.”
Source: ToDo Institute
Photo credit: Creative Ignition (at flickr)
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