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11 Practical Ways to Stop Procrastinating, an article from Lifehack.org, is the one story that will likely find its way into your inbox this week.
The article lays out some very sound advice. Break your work up into manageable chunks, work with a friend, and tell others about your goals are all great motivators that make the list. But something big is missing.
Procrastination is the act of putting off important tasks intentionally and habitually. Now ask yourself: Do you have the habit of avoiding important tasks?
When people claim that they are “huge procrastinators” they usually mean that they aren’t starting their work even though they know they should be. They generally aren’t admitting to a reckless, ingrained, job-threatening, habit. They are merely acknowledging their reluctance to start a tedious or overwhelming project.
If someone calls themselves a “major league procrastinator” they are most likely suggesting that they are intentionally avoiding work. They aren’t admitting to a habitual, long-term opposition to work.
Of course, some people are true procrastinators, but they are unlikely to have steady jobs, pay bills, and read articles about how to get better at completing work because they have the bad of habit of ignoring important tasks. Most people are delayers, not procrastinators, since they are able to complete important tasks when they arise.
People’s real frustrations stem from their inability to translate their dreams, to-do lists, and aspirations into a language that makes their variety of goals feel like important tasks.
If you want to write a book, start a blog, or learn a new language you have to make your goals pressing, important, and urgent. If you don’t it will be easier to put of your dreams until tomorrow, watch TV, and surf the internet.
10-step-fight-procrastination guides won’t be able to cure a person who really does procrastinate. They won’t help us focus on making goals and dreams into imperative, must-finish, tasks.
The challenge for people who put off their dream projects and can’t get around to completing their visions has little to do with procrastination and everything to do with goal perception and task ranking.
Completing important tasks might be hard, but chances are you can pull them off without worrying about procrastination. The hard part is selecting the right goals.
Picture Credit: Emilie Orgez