Procrastination How to Finish What You’ve Started

Work + Money

Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon, Author

By Lauretta Hannon



Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage. - Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

Hello, my name is Lauretta, and I am a procrastinator. I have put off things big and small from pursuing my dream of being a writer to taking the clothes out of the dryer to writing this post. I have told myself that I worked better under pressure -- that I was more creative when I waited until the last frantic minute. But years later I realized my life was going in circles. That’s when I got real and got moving in the direction of my dreams.

That doesn’t mean I don’t backslide. In fact, I alternate between periods of super-productivity and abject procrastination. It is still a struggle. The difference is that I recognize the danger in not getting things done. Twenty-percent of Americans identify themselves as chronic procrastinators, but I wonder how many of us understand the extent to which we undermine our own success, happiness, and purpose.

Before I could break its spell over my life, I had to stop making excuses. “I’ll do that when I have more time” was my preferred cop-out. I had to finally accept that I’d never have more time because I already had all the time there was. I was just wasting it instead of making the most of it.

Don’t bury your dreams in the grave of procrastination. I hope you will unearth them, dust them off, and get to work.

6 Tips for Procrastinators

1. Small Victories Lead To Bigger Ones

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, tackle a small task. See how good it feels to complete it. This will empower you to do more. The cure is always in the doing, so do something now.

2. No More Excuses

Excuses diminish your power and your purpose. Stop using them and discourage friends, family, and colleagues from uttering them in your presence. Remind yourself that excuses poison your progress.

3. A Little Lollygagging Is Okay

A modest amount of lollygagging is fine. Go ahead and check your email and Facebook, just don’t check them 20 times a day. Allow yourself to daydream and play; those activities, in moderation, actually increase your productivity.

4. Time May Not Be On Your Side

It sounds trite, but what would you get done if you knew your time was limited? Act as if it is. Days and resources will not last forever. Or as Martin Luther said, “How soon not now becomes never.”

5. It is Not Just Your Problem

When you avoid doing something, you often shift the burden onto others. This destroys teamwork at home, the office, and everywhere else. Be mindful of how your procrastination might be affecting your loved ones and your relationships.

6. A Woman’s Intuition

Have you ever been puzzled about why you’re putting something off? If so, look at what might be behind your behavior. Perhaps your intuition is trying to steer you onto a better course.

Now that you’ve finished reading this blog post (it's own form of procrastination?), get up from the computer – or switch screens – and take care of at least one of those things – big or small – that you've been meaning to do.

Lauretta Hannon is a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and Georgia Public Radio’s Georgia Gazette and has contributed to numerous newspapers.  Winner of more than two hundred awards in marketing and promotions, she is the former marketing director at Atlanta Technical College. She is also the author of The Cracker Queen.

More by Lauretta Hannon: One Writer's Authentic Voice: Find Your Own

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  • This article really spoke to me. As a writer myself trying to get to working on a book proposal (I've a connectiong with a NYC publisher yet I keep about the ultimate sabotage. And, I used to give seminars on how not to sabotage yourself. I'm grateful for the wisdom in this article and the practical/doable steps to take to experience success. It's challenging, motivating and it inspired me to take myself and my writing craft more seriously starting today. Thank you Lauretta!

    Posted by Topblonde1, 13 May 2010.