I just finished a fabulous book called Taming the To Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day by Glynnis Whitwer. This book may be the best I have ever read on the topic of procrastination. Glynnis begins by gently but firmly explaining why procrastination is robbing many of us of our best life and then offers practical tips for understanding and changing our behavior. I would highly recommend this accessible, easy to read discussion of a topic with which many of us struggle. Glynnis writes from the perspective of someone who has personally fought this battle and has found some success.
Here are a few concepts I found particularly helpful:
Procrastination is a bad habit, not a character flaw.
For most of my life, I assumed my tendency to put off tasks until the last minute was just part of my DNA. I told myself I worked better under pressure. I rationalized procrastination as just being the way I am wired to function. Yes, it made things harder. Yes, it impacted my relationships. Yes, it made me feel guilty and ashamed and incompetent, but that is just who I am, so I guess I have to learn to work around it. After all, I’m good at plenty of other things, right?
Glynnis, however, offered me a much more hopeful outlook. Procrastination is a learned behavior and a bad habit. I have the ability to change behaviors and habits. I might need to do some work to figure out why I have a tendency to procrastinate, but I absolutely do have the ability to learn new skills around how I choose which tasks to do and how I manage my time. I have changed my behavior in the past. I have developed healthier habits before. I can do so again in this area. Continue reading