Advice for Overcoming Procrastination, From the Heart

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I will be attending a funeral ceremony for one of my pupils in just a few days (two days to be exact).

“But,” you might be thinking, “what does this have to do with me?” Since you’re here, you probably have this question in mind because you’re trying to find help for yourself or someone you care about who has trouble with procrastination.

When you read the next section, you’ll understand why. Therefore, put aside any distractions at this time. Ready? Come on, let’s get going.

One of the instructors I oversee told me about five weeks ago that one of the students in her class had been hospitalized with illness.

I had every intention of paying her a visit. After a few days, I got this nagging feeling (a sixth sense, perhaps) telling me to get myself to the emergency room.

I had planned to go see her on that specific day, but something else came up and I ended up missing it.

So, I set up a second day to go looking for her.

For me, the weekdays are too hectic, so a Saturday would have been ideal.

When the day finally came, I wasn’t feeling well, so I postponed the visit.

I saw many missed calls from the student’s home room instructor while I was getting ready for church the following morning.

As soon as I picked up the phone to call her back, I heard my phone ring again.

I picked up the phone when it rang.

I overheard her utter through weeping, “Shanalee died this morning.”

Truthfully, I was taken aback by it.

To which she replied, “You are lying,” to which I interrupted, “You are lying.”

She went on to tell me that the doctors were unable to save her life because of the advanced stage of her disease.

A wave of guilt hit me after she hung up the phone.

Questions such, “How could she die?” and “But, I was going to look for her,” and “What would people think of me when I tell them, I did not visit her?” flooded my mind.

My mood remained low for the remainder of the day because of this.

The pupils, who by then would have heard the dreadful news, were waiting for me the next day.

The students’ yells echoed loudly as I made my way to the classroom. God, please give me the fortitude to handle this, I pleaded to myself.

Many of the students, including me, were shocked by her unexpected death. Many people felt bad about not going to see her, just like I did. Many of them shared my wish that we could “turn back the hands of time” and tell her all the wonderful things we never got the chance to say while she was still with us.

However, death often does not forewarn its victims.

You, too, surely have an interesting tale to tell. Maybe you, too, have had to deal with the negative outcomes and setbacks that resulted from procrastinating.

The reality is that a lot of people have this issue. Everyone, regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic background, political affiliation, gender, etc., has felt its sting and continues to fight this issue every day.

The good news is that you can learn to control your procrastination and lead a happier, more fulfilled life.

Here are a few pointers to get you rolling:

Act Immediately: Do not procrastinate if you have the chance to act. Exactly what have you been delaying? Is it seeing loved ones more often, returning to school, completing a project, getting your bills paid on time, becoming fit, cutting calories, or launching a business? In the end, it was your choices that led you to this point in your life. How much you care about achieving your objectives or aspirations will affect how much effort you put into acting now and how long you will keep at it when your motivation is low.

I could have forced myself to go despite my physical condition on the day I decided to visit the pupil. Looking back, I don’t think I was in that much pain. However, I convinced myself that this was the case. And exactly which “discomfort” are you caving into? If you want to start working out first thing in the morning and your alarm is set to go off at 5 a.m., resist the temptation to stay in bed for those extra five minutes. Or, do you wait until the last minute to do tasks because you tell yourself that you perform better under pressure? Force yourself to get started on the task sooner. As a result, you won’t have to worry as much about finishing the project at the last minute.

Accusing outside forces is comforting because it relieves us of responsibility for our own actions. False. This is something that my students excel at. When my students attempt to get out of consequences, I often hear them say things like, “I couldn’t print my assignment because the ink is finished in the printer” or “I didn’t do well on the test because my house is too noisy and I can’t study.”

If you haven’t accomplished what you set out to do, who or what do you blame? Your parents? Your spouse? The government? True, outside forces can help us get ahead, but I constantly remind my students that when problems arise, the key is to figure out how to solve them.

Too often, we forget Marianne Williamson’s wise words: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.” Our greatest worry is that our strength is infinite. Our greatest fear should be of ourselves in the light, not in the dark. Who am I, we wonder, to be so amazingly smart, beautiful, talented, and fabulous? Really, who else would you be?

Procrastination is a constant threat, but successful people have learned to overcome it and will continue to do so. People are not “born procrastinators,” rather, procrastination is a habit that can be overcome via the gradual adoption of more productive practices.

Your decision is always final. So, what do you say? The time to act is now; I urge you to push yourself and accept responsibility for your choices.

Fight back against the temptation to put things off. No moment is better than the present to begin.

If you’re looking for further advice on how to stop putting things off, this video by one of the world’s most in-demand motivational speakers is for you. Follow This Link.

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