How Do You Deal With a Procrastinator?

I am not among the ranks of procrastinators and have never understood why people allow themselves to get put in stressful situations, which could have been avoided with planning. A recent book by Kory Kogon, The 5 choices:  The path to Extraordinary Productivity, shed some light on this subject for me. What has been discovered is that working under pressure to meet a deadline gives people a rush and they feel rewarded. This rush is the product of hormonal surges combining dopamine, cortisone and adrenalin. The surge of hormones makes the procrastinator believe the mounting pressure of a looming deadline brings out their best work. In actuality this is not true because as the pressure mounts enthusiasm and energy wane and more often than not quality work is not produced. On occasion working under pressure can produce a breakthrough and sharpen a person’s focus resulting in last-minute insights. The more complex the tasks or issues being tackled the more likely a fired-up brain is to become frazzled and incapable of higher-order thinking. Unfortunately, society also plays a role in rewarding the procrastinator. People believe that if you are not busy then you are not being productive. Therefore, people will look for mundane tasks to perform to stay busy at the risk of putting off important work with deadlines.

How do you tackle procrastination? First acknowledge if you or your child is prone to the behavior. Ask yourself why this scenario happens to you over and over. Do you put tasks off or are you an individual who over commits to projects or takes on the duties of other people? A method developed over fifty years ago is still one of the best ways to deal with procrastination and it is as follows:

  1. Daily list the five most important things you must accomplish.
  2. Start with number one and do not bypass it until it is complete. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it finished but that you stay on task.
  3. Update the list daily

This method had been used with great success by everyone from corporate presidents to students. What this method does is instill focus and discipline. You will be amazed at how productive you become.

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