Excellence with G.O.P.T.A.© Series: Part 109 (Procrastination Cycle)

By: Dr. Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Sr. Associate Editor, ICN Group

(In the past article, we knew about the strategy to overcome procrastination. Today, we will know about the ‘procrastination cycle’.)

Procrastination Cycle 

NOIDA: Procrastination manifests itself in the form of a vicious circle and you experience an emotional roller-coaster ride on this vicious circle. Any time, you get a difficult or boring task, the circle starts working. 

At the first step, you always decide (actually hope) that this time you will start early. At the second stage, when the so-called starting time has already passed, you start thinking that you have to start it soon but a feeling comes from inside that there is sufficient time remaining to do this task. As time passes by, number of important and urgent tasks start fighting for your immediate attention and you start thinking that this task can be postponed, as it is not an A priority work for today.

By the time, exigencies of the task compel you to take up the unpleasant or difficult task, you remain with the feeling that oops, I should have started earlier and start feeling guilty and start searching of excuses for not finishing the assignment in time. In the end, you somehow either finish the work in haste, compromising on quality, or postpone the work for the time being. But from inside, you are filled with loads of guilt and decide, not to commit the same mistake of procrastination next time. But alas! The circle continues.

If the above procrastination cycle sounds familiar, you need a deep introspection to find out which area of your life is suffering most due to procrastination. Find out some instances where you remember that you have procrastinated. Try to remember what the outcomes were. Either, you would have felt embarrassed due to missed deadlines or quality would have suffered. It may be any negative thing, which may include attracting late payment fee, loss of money, loss of goodwill, loss of amicable settlement or missing out good grades in exam. Now remember the feeling of anxiety due to this. I hope you can relive the feeling at this moment.

Become a creative procrastinator

Whether you like it or not, it is a fact of life that everyone procrastinates in one or other area of life. You have to do so many different things that you will never have sufficient time for doing all the works. The difference between more successful and less successful person lies behind their ability to choose what to procrastinate for the time being. 

Identify your top 20% priority works and for remaining works, you can practice creative procrastination. Creative procrastination is simply putting lesser priority works delayed, making room for doing higher priority works. It doesn’t mean that you are lazy. It just means that you are focusing on more important activities at the cost of other lesser important activities.

In prioritising, you can use ABCD method. While doing ‘A’ type of work, concentrate and do your best to finish the work in one go. Don’t leave parts of it for next time, if it is possible for you to finish it at one go, otherwise on the next go, it will again take your precious time to brush up the things you have already done.

But this doesn’t mean that you should leave ‘D’ types of work altogether, as these works will never jump to high priority in your daily list. You should delegate this activity to any other person. It can be done either by a family member or by your staff or you have to outsource it. 

For example, I used to manage my emails with the help of one associate of mine, who performed that portion of work, which did not require my personal attention and left the portion of work, which required my attention. I asked him to first see the perennial flow of incoming emails on my behalf and delete the useless emails, thus saving my time. I asked him to mark the useful emails for my viewing. For subscribed channels, I asked my associate to see and decide what is of use for me and what is not. Here it is important. I explained him my purpose of subscribing to this channel and delegated even the power to decide, which emails are useful for me and which are not. I asked him to copy the contents of those emails, which he considers fit for my reading and compile in a word file. Then re-read the emails and remove useless portions from this word file. This saved a lot of my time. Out of 100 emails from one particular channel, I just had to see 4-5 pages of word file containing the relevant portion of the emails useful for me, that too at the time convenient to me. In this manner, I was able to handle one area of my life by outsourcing and delegation of work, which did not require my personal attention. 

You have to always remember that your ability to postpone the less important tasks for having time to focus upon the most important tasks i.e. creative procrastination will take you miles ahead towards achievement of your goals.

 (For the past few articles, we were discussing about strategies to overcome procrastination. From next article, we will start discussing very important topic – ‘organisation in different walks of life’. I believe that you are enjoying the journey towards the future of your dreams with me. If yes, please stay tuned. Happy G.O.P.T.A.) 

Dr. Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Creator & trademark holder of the concept G.O.P.T.A.TM is an Author, Certified NLP Lifestyle Trainer, Strategic Interventionist, Corporate Trainer & Transformational Life Coach. (http://bit.ly/Signature-Workshops-Sanjay-Kumar-Agarwal) and recipient of Honorary Doctorate of Excellence (Management) by prestigious Young Scientist University, California, USA. He is Founder of ‘International GOPTA NLP Academy’ and is popularly known among his fans & followers across the globe as ‘Time and Goal Guru’.

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