Moving Beyond Procrastination

A recent article in Forbes, entitled "How to Stop Procrastinating," seemed like a timely subject for the end of this year and the start of a new one. The article notes that while some people may have a procrastination condition which requires cognitive treatment, just about everyone occasionally procrastinates and it’s these people who should adopt some strategies to get things done in a timely way.

The expert featured in the article, Dr. Joseph R. Ferrari, makes a number of helpful suggestions:

  • Use to-do lists
  • Prioritize
  • Manage technology distractions
  • Do the least favorite thing first
  • Surround yourself with people who are not procrastinators

For the business owner, procrastination can produce some serious unwanted effects.

  • Missed opportunity. Getting things done before deadline can be a valuable way to demonstrate competence and cement customer loyalty. Procrastination may mean completing work just in the nick of time, which does nothing to help you shine.
  • Loss of business. While snap decisions can produce bad results, no decision (due to procrastinating) on a business opportunity can mean a wasted chance to make money, get a new customer, gain visibility, or do something else of value for your company.
  • Added costs. Delaying bill payments and tax payments can mean interest and penalties. Late-paid bills can also impact your personal FICO score, which can result in denial of loan requests or higher interest costs when loans are approved.
  • Health conditions. Studies, such as one in 2005, have shown that procrastination can lead to adverse physical and psychological effects, such as ulcers, depression, insomnia, and anxiety. And treatment for these conditions may be delayed because of procrastination, leading to even greater health concerns.

There is a very interesting article by James Surowieki that appeared in The New Yorker on the subject of procrastinating that is worth the read.

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