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  • Diana Fletcher

Procrastination...Yes, read this right now!

I remember asking my son when he was in high school, why he waited until the last minute to do papers, projects, and everything else, when he had plenty of notice about due dates.

I said, in a very annoyed Mom tone, "Do you think you won't have to do it if you wait long enough?"

He answered, "There is always that chance. Someone may change their mind."

So there you have it.

Is that the secret wish? If I wait long enough, I won't have to do it? The boss will change her mind, the presentation will be canceled, the earth may stop....

C'mon, toughen up. We have to face the facts: There are things that we HAVE TO do and the only way to finish them is to get them started.

And that is the place that we run into trouble. We have all sorts of reasons for not getting started. But here is what lies under our excuses:

  • You may secretly worry that this project has to be so outstanding that your boss falls down in shock and awe. This will prevent you from getting started because you have just successfully overwhelmed yourself.

  • You may not have the five, six, or seven hours that you know you will need to finish the project.

  • You have never learned the secret to saying no.


  • Fear. Fear of failing. Fear of being embarrassed. Fear that after talking about it for so long, your efforts may be belittled. Fear of success.

Here is the way to get around those excuses, fears and self sabotage.

Just start. Start badly.

Start slowly. Start nervously.

But just start.

And this is how:

( # 5 is my favorite.)

Important Note: You waste a lot of energy and add to your anxiety by putting things off. You are delaying the action, but still keeping the anxiety. Let it go by getting started!

  1. Make a plan. If you think a project will take 6 hours or even six days, break this down into 1/2 hour or hour segments depending on when it has be finished. We don't concentrate very well after an hour or so, so you will actually do better work if you stay focused during that time.

  2. Commit to the plan. Write it on a calendar. Stop being a baby and buckle down. Treat these times are very, very precious and do not give the slots of time away.

  3. Each day, do one small thing toward the finish. (Little steps can get you where you are going.)

  4. Celebrate your successes at the end of each day. Instead of thinking how far you still have to go, celebrate what you accomplished and feel proud that you started.

  5. Be willing to do things badly sometimes. I always suggest to beginning writers to just start writing. If you wait for the perfect sentence or to be inspired, you will be staring at empty pages. Sometimes the good stuff comes once we immerse ourselves in it.

  6. Learn to say no. Practice. it gets easier. Call me if you need some tips about how to do this. (You will be saying yes to what is truly important.)

  7. Be realistic. Maybe you cannot accomplish all you want to accomplish right now. Some things may have to wait. that's ok. Prioritize. Own your choices.

Oh, and one more thing. Though I do believe you need breaks and playtime every day, stop fooling around when you should be getting started. You can play Angry Birds later.