Procrastination can annihilate a person's wealth-building journey. It prevents you from changing jobs, starting that business venture, and simply learning those basic personal finance concepts you know you should understand.
I would argue that procrastination is one of the biggest hurdles to the wealth-building journey. Generally, people have a general sense of what they should do (save more, learn how to invest, start that business, etc.), but they never stop pushing this stuff to the back of their mental to-do list.
Don't Worry, You Are Not Alone
Rest assured, if you are a chronic procrastinator, you are not alone.
I came across the following information while doing some procrastination of my own:
For those unaware, chronic is a strong word. According to Merriam-Webster, chronic means continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.
In other words, if you are a chronic procrastinator, you must become more proactive than the average person.
The Opposite Of Procrastination: Being Proactive
Before I started writing this post, I spent some time thinking about whether I was a chronic procrastinator.
After thinking about this question for about an hour, here is my answer: I honestly do not know.
There are aspects of my life where I am more on top of things, but there are other aspects that I routinely put on the back burner.
I can also have an obsessive personality. When I want to do something, I am somehow able to be laser-focused for the necessary time (I lost 60 lbs in 2018 because of this ability to focus).
Either way, whether I am a chronic procrastinator or not, we can all benefit from being more proactive in my life.
Here are three ways to help you be more proactive in your life:
One. Lie to yourself when it comes to deadlines.
This may sound strange, but create false narratives in your head that are in place to better yourself and your situation.
Do you have a work deadline that your boss says is due next Friday? Not anymore. Tell yourself, "I have to be done with this project by Wednesday."
Do you plan to start your business sometime next year? Not anymore. Tell yourself, "I have to start my business by next month."
There is a theory called Parkinson's Law. In general terms, this theory says if you give yourself a specific amount of time to do something, you will unnecessarily take that amount of time to complete the task.
For example, if you give yourself a couple of weeks to finish that work project, you will spend a couple of weeks to finish that project. And you will most likely spend a lot of the time doing stuff that is trivial and not important for the final product.
However, if you gave yourself just two days to finish that same task, you would only spend those two days to complete that task. And, you would most likely have a more focused and more refined finished product.
I think back to those late nights in college when I stayed up all night to finish a paper, and the final product was actually great.
The key is NOT to wait until the last minute to perform the task, but to create that environment that allows you to perform that type of focused work. Giving yourself firm, quick deadlines well ahead of the due date is how you accomplish this.
Two. Make a list.
I talked about this in a post from last week, but it is very important for the chronic procrastinator.
If you combine a daily list of tasks with firm (but false) deadlines, you will start to create better habits that may lead to you becoming just the occasional procrastinator.
There is nothing more satisfying than physically marking an item off a to-do list because you completed it. Visually seeing your progress helps create these lasting habits.
I suggest making a to-do list the night before. I know some people who make weekly to-do lists.
Weekly to-do lists are great, but you should also make a daily one as well the night before. Things will unexpectedly change day-to-day, and doing a list the night before will account for these changes.
Three. Focus on your health.
This is another odd one. But, if you are constantly trying to run on less than 7 hours of sleep a night, have a poor diet, and have no exercise routine, it makes it that much easier to procrastinate.
I am not saying proper nutrition and other healthy physical habits will fix every problem, but they should at least help with most.
Sleep, diet, and exercise are three areas I personally struggle with. So, I know from experience that when I am succeeding in all three areas, I am so much more productive and way less of a procrastinator.
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