I am 83 years old – realistically, there are only so many years and so must energy left. I have things to do, opportunities to explore, and places to go. I can’t afford to put off tasks that prevent me from realizing my dreams and aging well.
Procrastination is the voluntary postponement of an unpleasant task, often taken against one’s better judgment (Steel, 2007). When people procrastinate, they pass the buck to their future selves.
The PsychCentral website says,“Most people procrastinate because they pursue perfectionism, fear doing poorly at the task, or are too disorganized with their time and resources.”
The Psychology Today website claims that the reasons for procrastination are an absence of structure, unpleasant tasks, timing, anxiety, and lack of self-confidence.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, notes
Procrastination runs contrary to your long-term interests and is usually “more painful” than the work you’re avoiding. Despite these negatives, however, many people still procrastinate. Why? Behavioral science locates the root of procrastination as “time inconsistency.” When you think like your “future self,” you prioritize actions that serve long-term goals, but your “present self” prefers to prioritize immediate desires.
I procrastinate because of fear, lack of self-confidence, and anxiety. Those reasons increased after my husband died. I went from living with my parents to living with him. For 60 years, we did everything together, from making decisions to grocery shopping. So, having sole responsibility for my life has been daunting.
I plan to adopt strategies to get me going from the article Beating Procrastination: 10 Proven Tips Every Senior Should Know. The first strategy is the Five Minute Miracle - asking myself what action I can take in less than five minutes to move forward just a little. Another possibility is Getting Under the Hood - understanding exactly why I procrastinate. A third option is A Power Hour, which consists of putting aside distractions and working in focused chunks of time followed by short periods of rest to harness the optimal performance of the brain and body.
Take a look at the list and see what works for you.
Procrastination excuses are what people tell themselves right before they delay. The explanations that people give themselves to postpone, avoid or reschedule what they want to do, plan to do, or should do.
People are experts at using excuses they learned to master through repetition.
Ironically, procrastination can be a reward when it avoids an unpleasant activity. You teach your brain that postponing is a good thing. Putting off a dentist appointment feels good at the moment. So, the next time it’s time for an appointment, you might procrastinate again. The video explains excuses well.
To change something, people need to know what they want to change. An excellent way to start is by raising awareness and paying attention to the explanations and justifications they use to procrastinate.
Reflect on excuses by asking oneself:
What am I telling myself right before I procrastinate?
What reasons did I use to postpone this task or behavior?
How did I manage to convince myself to avoid or reschedule this activity?
In an article entitled, 10 Questions to Ask Someone, the author suggests questions to ask as a way to get to know someone at a deep level. I propose asking yourself the questions, making a personal development plan for the future, and eliminating procrastination and excuses. Easier said than done, for sure.
The Dumblitttleman website lists three types of excuses:
1. “I need to but” - you fill in the blank” ,“I don’t want to”, or “I don’t have to.”
2. “I don’t know how to” was my favorite excuse, but it holds no water. I can google almost any topic. Hundreds of answers pop up.
3. Legitimate excuses - there can be a viable reason for not doing something or doing it wrong. Circumstances, such as breaking an arm, can arise unexpectedly and must be dealt with immediately.
Common excuses for not making ideas happen
Not enough time
Fear of failure
It’s not good enough
It’s not original enough
My favorite excuses are I might make a mistake or miss something, it’s not good enough, I don’t drive, and I have a headache.
I’ll bet you have favorites, as well. Care to share?
How can I stop making excuses? The Internet offers a wealth of ideas. Here are a few sites with possible ideas. Check them out.
Take Charge Of Your Life: 6 Ways To Stop Making Excuses Forever
Are You Living a Life of Endless Excuses? Here’s How to Stop!
As a starting point, I choose to take greater responsibility, focus on solutions and opportunities, adopt a positive mindset, uncover limiting beliefs, shift my perspective, and stop harping on past failures.
These three articles offer essential information for all who wish to age well:
Should the patient really get the drug? Especially read the Dr. Rushworth article.
Information for Patients: Food is the Most Important Consideration in Type 2 Diabetes. Food is an essential consideration in aging well - period.
The Egg That Made Me Formed in My Grandmother's Womb 100 Years Ago. Especially, listen to the Ted Talk by Dr. Ted Thornburg.
Very informative Janice, and so practical. I have to admit, at nearly 80, I have days when I am too apathetic or lethargic to even make up an excuse for my procrastination! How pathetic is that? Ha Ha Ha. Oh, my house is always in order, bills paid, houseplants watered, etc etc, but far too many times I find myself saying, "Yeah. Who cares?" For six days "Wash the car" has been on my to do. It only takes 10 minutes, but I just don't care. I think two more reasons people procrastinate could be added to your list ( and I am not necessarily thinking of myself here) - depression and physical pain. Just makes it hard to get going. Keep up the encouragement, friend. It is needed.