Twenty five percent of the population identify themselves as chronic procrastinators, and some research suggests up to 70% of people have a serious problem with procrastination.
What is procrastination?
The word procrastination comes from the Latin “pro”, which means “forth”, or “forward” and “crastinus” meaning “tomorrow”.
The Oxford dictionary defines it as “deferring or delaying action, intentionally or habitually”.
Napoleon Hill defines it as the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.
I happen to be part of the 25% of the population. It may not look like it from the outside, but I struggle with procrastination, most especially when it comes to my personal goals, ministry and to making my dreams happen.
For the procrastinator, the task before us begins with good intentions. We make our plan and have high hopes about the success of fulfilling it, but when the time comes to actually get started, we can’t seem to clear the hurdle.
Tomorrow always seems to be a better day to begin.
Am I alone in this struggle?
The 10 Signs
If you can relate to any of the following statements, you probably are a procrastinator:
- You are almost always late in paying your bills, thus you usually pay late fees, interest charges or penalty fees
- You house or office is cluttered with half-finished projects
- When it’s time to start a big job, an important chore or a major project, you find all kinds of little jobs that must be done before you can begin
- You shop for birthday, anniversary or Christmas gifts on the day of the occasion
- You’re reluctant to take risks or try something new
- You have been meaning to send a text message or call someone with someone you need to check in on, but never gets to it
- You always cram for a test, a presentation or any deadlines at that
- After tackling a project, you almost always end up stressed and resentful because you didn’t have enough time to prepare for it
- You are routinely late for appointments and meetings because you have underestimated the time it will take you from point a to point b
- You almost always focus on non-essential office work instead of the “real” work
The Procrastinating Famous Painter
Leonardo da Vinci was one of history’s most famous procrastinators. He never finished a project on time and was notorious for jumping from one unfinished endeavour to another.
His painting Mona Lisa took 20 years to complete and The Last Supper was finished only after his patron threatened to cut off the funds.
He planned to write these books on mathematical subjects, but they were never published. His notebooks were filled with ingenious inventions and machines; most were never built or implemented.
On his death bed, he apologized to “God and Man for leaving so much undone”.
TODAY IS A MUCH BETTER DAY TO BEGIN
There are probably all kinds of things you could look around and find to do besides read this blog post, but don’t save it for tomorrow. Today is a much better day to begin.
Next week, we will be talking about the common excuses of procrastinating and what action steps we can take so that we can start overcoming it.
- Write down one project or major task that you had good intentions of starting, but have yet to begin.
- What negative consequences have you experienced from delaying it?