If you’re a procrastinator, it might not be your fault.

Many folks in the psychology world believe that procrastinators have a skewed perception of time – they genuinely believe they have more time than they do. Or the procrastinator thinks that the task they need to do will take less time than it actually does.

Of course, it’s also a fact that procrastination is linked to your ability to manage stress. High stress leads to task aversion and can halt even the most well-meaning person in their tracks.

Are you a Simpsons fan? Let’s look at our favorite troublemaker. In the Season 2 episode ‘Bart Gets an F’, Bart is faced with failing Grade 4 unless he can pass a (for him) very challenging history exam. Bart gets so overwhelmed with fear of failure that he puts off studying until the last minute. Luckily, he ends up passing the exam (just barely!) – but you can’t help but feel sorry for him. (Watch a clip here).

Avoiding a task only leads to more stress down the road. Especially when you realize you’re a few hours from your deadline and you know there’s no way you’re getting the job done now.

Procrastinators frequently feel shame and guilt over their performance and inability to meet their commitments – this can do a number on their self-esteem. Just like Bart.

Sound like you? Try these tips to nip stalling in the bud.

  1. Question the work. Ask yourself the following: How long will this take? Do you actually have space to take on organizing your coworker’s birthday party when your boss has already slammed you with other work? Can you budget the time needed while making sure your other commitments don’t suffer?
  2. Use your calendar. Block off sections of time for your various projects and stick to it. Pro Tip: Budget more time than you think. Something will always come up that will make a big project run longer than expected, so you’ll be thankful you did. And if it doesn’t take that much time? Awesome – enjoy some well-earned down time!
  3. Work when you’re at your best. Don’t try to work on something important first thing in the morning when you know you’re not a morning person! That is just setting yourself up for failure.
  4. Kill excuses. Humans are remarkably good at coming up with reasons not to do something, especially when a task is not fun. Recognize excuses for what they are, and just do it!
  5. Tag team it! Working on a task is a lot more fun when you’re working with a partner. Make a game or friendly competition out of it, and knock out tasks in half the time.
  6. Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement might seem silly or juvenile, but it’s a powerful tool. A big task can be a lot easier to stomach when you know there’s something in it for you at the end. The bigger the task, the bigger the reward should be.

If you find yourself putting off work that you know you need to do, and are tired of sitting in an endless shame spiral, try something different by implementing the tips I gave you. You might get a reputation for being one of those people who always gets the job done!

You can count on us to not put off getting your financial future into shape. Give us a call at 513-563-PLAN (7526) or book online today. Let’s book a quick chat to get started.

Nikki Earley, CFP®