Do you procrastinate on preparation, putting off doing the groundwork for making reasoned decisions and achieving higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness? For example:
Can you do a better job preparing yourself to follow through and to prevent procrastination? You can if you take the time to find out what to do and to make directed efforts to do better. However, a big part of reducing procrastination involves mastering yourself as you master the tools to combat procrastination.
Procrastination on Preparation Test
If you suspect you procrastinate on preparation, take the following test and see. Answer true to questions that sound like something you might do, and false to questions that don’t reflect what you do. Next, we’ll look at what the test tells us, and then, I’ll share seven ways to prevent procrastination on preparation.
When you address procrastination, you will normally have more than one issue to face. Each test question suggests a procrastination hotspot that can coexist with other factors, such as a need for certainty, rumination, and putting off studying by relying too heavily on intuition.
Secondary procrastination refers to procrastination triggered by a problem condition such as anxiety. You feel anxious about an upcoming meeting. You put off preparing for the meeting because this work conjures unpleasant images and feelings. You put off combatting your anxiety. You find yourself in an escalating anxiety-procrastination mess. While in this vicious circle, you feel blocked. However, you can start your exit anytime.
Preparatory efforts to reduce anxiety include working at doing what you put off. You can get a two-for-one benefit. Reductions in anxiety can correlate with reductions in procrastination-related areas.
What the Test Tells
Let’s look at possible interpretations for each test situation, and sample remedies:
You may find you can use techniques from different areas to help in one targeted area.
Which of the above situations bothers you the most? Target that area first.
Use the following seven steps to improve your preparation skills and to execute action to prevent yourself from procrastinating in that area.
If you bog down, push yourself! (You don’t have to limit yourself to one of the 10 test questions. If you have a more pressing issue—or more than one—apply the seven steps to them.)
I wrote this without the use of the verb to be. (This idea comes from the General Semantics school of thought.) Presumably, eliminating the verb reduces irrational either/or thinking that can cloud thought with overgeneralizations about the self, others, and life. The tone also suggests a positive momentum.
For those who want a quick reference to one of my original descriptions of procrastination on preparation, click on How to Conquer Your Frustrations and go to chapter 4. You’ll find additional solutions for procrastination on preparation there. In chapter 9, “Mastering Your Time Frustrations” you’ll find a ten-step stall-stopper program for preventing procrastination.
I wrote How to Conquer Your Frustrations without the use of the verb to be. The book gives many more examples of how this style works. See if this form of preparation aids you to develop greater emotional and behavioral control, and to procrastinate less.
For techniques on combatting complex forms of procrastination, click on The Procrastination Workbook.
To prepare yourself to deal with anxiety and procrastination, check out The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety.
© Dr. Bill Knaus
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