It’s a thief. If you procrastinate, it’s likely been robbing you of your happiness: your dream job, the academic degree that will allow you to have a career you’re passionate about. The promotion or raise you’ve been wanting, yet haven’t gotten around to taking the training required for it — the marathon finisher medal you’ve wanted to earn. Your procrastination pattern could be damaging your relationships. Because if you put things off and then cancel plans or are late as a result, you are breaking promises to people. When a commitment isn’t kept, it undermines your credibility with people. And just as costly, it chips away at your self-respect.

Why am I so passionate about helping you get this monkey off your back? Because I’m a recovering procrastinator. One of my Ph.D. program professors told me I would make a good therapist if I didn’t have one fatal flaw: a procrastination problem. He knew that if I couldn’t finish a 10-page paper, there was no way I could complete a dissertation, which meant no way to pursue my dream career of helping people as a counseling psychologist. He also knew that my struggle was completely unnecessary. His words hit me hard, and for that, I am grateful. They led me to get serious about facing my demon. I developed and implemented a procrastination-slaying completion plan. The result? I earned my degree in 4 years as opposed to the average 5. And I ended a 15-year streak of being paralyzed when it came to writing papers. The bonus is that I have used the same strategies to stop putting things off, in any area of my life, ever since.

If I can learn how to stop procrastinating, you can too.

So, don’t despair. Many successful people are recovering procrastinators, which makes total sense. Like many traits, a good thing gone awry can lead to trouble. The same pursuit of excellence, with really high standards, that’s a big part of their successes now, probably used to immobilize them into inaction and avoidance.

I have developed a multi-step program based on what worked for me and on strategies that clients— who are now “finishers”! — have shared with me over the years.

Here’s the good news… overcoming procrastination can be simple for you. But you have to decide that you will do it, and you have to follow a plan.

It is MORE than worth the effort. The pain/shame/discomfort/blow to your self-respect you feel when you put things off… and you know you think about it… that nags at you. Like a cloud over your head that never quite leaves: taking away some shine in your life. So that you can’t even enjoy the fun things you’re doing when you’re procrastinating. Think about how ridiculous that is. You’re avoiding something (because you think it will be unpleasant) by doing something you enjoy. Yet, you can’t enjoy it because you have the cloud over your head saying you shouldn’t be doing it. THAT discomfort is so much worse than whatever discomfort you could feel if you were working on the task. Crazy? Yes! Human? Often. Unnecessary? Definitely.

It’s an emotional prison that you’ve put yourself in: usually out of some anxiety or fear. But why you do it is less important than figuring out HOW TO STOP doing it, so you can rid yourself of the costly burden that is procrastination.

I invite you to join me in this conversation. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting procrastination-busting techniques that you can start using right away. I know you can do this, and can’t wait to be a part of this journey with you!

By Dr. Lee Odescalchi

Author's Bio: 

Lee Odescalchi is a coach and licensed psychologist. She has coached and counseled clients, just like you, looking for more fulfilling lives. Her unique approach uses the most effective methods of personal development and performance strategies. She does this while addressing issues from the past that have led to self-limiting beliefs that get in the way of your success. Lee also empowers people to “get out of their own way” and maximize their strengths so they can produce extraordinary results… in any area of their life.