Are Your Sabotaging Yourself Through The Robbing Power of Procrastination?

Ever tend to put something off when you really could or should be getting it done now? Do you feel like you’re really busy most of the time but not getting much accomplished? If your task list is getting larger or you find yourself moving to-do’s to a future date without a really good reason, you’re probably in the same boat as millions of other procrastinators. Maybe you’ve heard the saying that “procrastination is suicide on the installment plan“.

Getting involved in time-wasters is a common way to distract from things that really matter. Before you know it, you can lose hours of precious time which could have been better spent crossing something off of your “to-do” list. Television, web browsing, email and now, social media, tend to be huge time wasters. I recently read an article that stated some employers feel they are losing about 25% productivity of their employees due to time spent (or wasted) on email, browsing & social media.

Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

Procrastination has a compounding power to rob us of motivation and positive mental energy. The longer we procrastinate, the harder it is to get back on track. We tend to minimize the importance of paperwork, phone calls, etc., the longer it has been since we first needed to get them taken care of. We can be pretty creative when it comes to making up excuses for not doing something now. It’s all a matter of habit – and what procrastination teaches the mind, is – simply put – to be lazy. The more we procrastinate, the less motivated we become. It’s a vicious cycle.

A sense of self-control & accomplishment comes from getting things done but when we put those things off, the opposite happens. We feel a loss of control & empowerment which can actually lead to lethargy & depression. The longer we put something off, the harder it is to get it done. I’ve struggled with this for a long time, in fact, I have a few books on the subject. What I discovered is that if I procrastinate reading the books, they don’t help either. Imagine that! Martin Luther once said, “How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’“, and oh, how true that is.

A few ideas to help get back on track & out of the rut:

  • Start by limiting the time you allow yourself to spend on certain time-draining activities each day. Don’t let yourself go over that limit unless you’ve completed everything you need to get done for the day. If you need to, write down the limits you set for yourself so you can refer back to it later.
  • Make sure that you’re keeping a running schedule & task list. Whether it’s on your computer, smartphone, planner or on a paper pad – keep it handy & keep things organized on it.
  • If you’re completely bogged down with a huge task list, rebuild it from the ground up. Start completely over by taking a new inventory of everything that needs to be done, reprioritize it all and set new due dates.
  • Give yourself the credit you deserve! Whenever you get something done that was actually on your list, make sure to cross it off & take a mental note. This helps by empowering you mentally. You’re now back in control!

You’ll have more time than you thought by staying more organized & sticking to the limits you set for yourself. Believe it or not, you will have more emotional energy to deal with things as you accomplish more. Your mind will feed on the accomplishments you make & be charged up for more. Practice a positive habit of “doing” to increase the sense of worth & power of control you have over your life. You’ll feel more motivated and find you have more energy emotionally and physically, as well.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorites by Mark Victor Hansen, which does away with the excuses & procrastination attitude: “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.


  1. Years ago, when I was young and healthy and had a lot going on in my life, I kept a running list on paper. Everything that needed to be done was put on the list and crossed off as they were accomplished. By the end of the day I might not have everything crossed off, but what was left started the next day.
    Now I don’t have the pressures and I am much slower in everything I do. I don’t make long lists anymore but I plan two or three major things (things that will take most of my energy) and then a few other things (quiet things) to be done each day.
    I have found that a lot of the things I used to think were very important are not as important anymore. Also, I think it’s good not to beat yourself up for what you don’t get done. Do the best you can and give yourself a pat on the back for what you DO accomplish and don’t berate yourself for what has to wait until tomorrow. We all know in our heart if we have put our best effort into the time we have.

  2.  good info Cole.  Empire avenue would fit into the first one, but I no
    longer spend as much time as I used to.  I have utilized notebooks
    making my to do lists, but I stopped that long ago as well.  Although I
    do use lists for future buys at the store and household items we need.

    • Bonnie, you’re right – things like Empire Ave. can be major time-eaters…but, “all things in moderation”! Using lists is a great way to keep priorities fresh in ‘in front of us’. What do you find works best for you now?


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