Procrastination is a Poverty Habit. It prevents, even the most talented individuals, from realizing success in life. Most people have this Poverty Habit, and it is not an accident that most people struggle financially in life. Success has many moving parts and procrastination is a big moving part. One of the main contributors to procrastination is not being passionate about what you do for a living. That’s 87% of the working population in the world. According to Gallup, only 13 percent of employees are “engaged” in their jobs, or emotionally invested in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve. The data, which is based on nationally representative polling samples in 2011 and 2012 from more than 140 countries, show that 63 percent are “not engaged”—or simply unmotivated and unlikely to exert extra effort—while the remaining 24 percent are “actively disengaged,” or truly unhappy and unproductive.
Why? The reason is that we simply like to do the things we like to do and we put off the things we do not like to do. Whether you realize it or not, procrastination is a big reason why you are struggling financially in life. It damages your credibility with employers and fellow colleagues at work. It also affects the quality of your work and this affects the business you or your employer receives from customers, clients and business relationships. Procrastination brands you as someone who cannot be trusted or whose work product is poor. Worse, procrastination can lead to litigation, which causes stress and financial costs that can run into the thousands of dollars.
Believe it or not, the voice of procrastination screams just as loud and clear in the minds of those who excel in life, as it does in the minds of those who do not. The difference is how successful people stop that voice of procrastination in its tracks. In my five-year study on the daily habits of the rich and poor, I uncovered five tools that can help anyone silence the voice of procrastination forever:
Tool #1 – To-do Lists
In my study, successful people often relied on “to-do” lists to help them get things done.
There are two types of daily to dos:
- Goal To Dos – These are daily tasks tied to monthly, yearly and long-term goals. These are almost always fixed in nature, meaning the same to dos show up every day on the to do list. For example: “Make Ten Telemarketing Phone Calls”.
- Non-Goal To Dos – These are to dos that are unrelated to any goals. They may be administrative tasks (i.e. Respond to Emails), client tasks (i.e. Meeting with Client) or daily obligations (i.e. Go to Bank). They may be fixed, daily tasks or they may vary daily.
Tool #2 – The Daily 5
Every day, successful people incorporate into their daily “to-do” list five things to accomplish before the day ends. This is a particularly important tool for that 87% who are not passionate about their job. The Daily 5 can represent five things that are unrelated to your 9-5 job. They can be five minor things that you do every day that move your forward toward accomplishing some goal or realizing some dream or purpose in life.
Tool #3 – Setting and Communicating Artificial Deadlines
When we set deadlines and communicate those deadlines to third parties directly affected by the completion of a task, you increase the urgency for completing the task. It elevates it from a mere “to-do” to a personal promise you make to another individual. It puts pressure on you to fulfill your promise and meet the deadline.
Tool #4 – Accountability Partners
An Accountability Partner is someone you meet with regularly (weekly, for example) who holds your feet to the fire in accomplishing your tasks. This can be one or more individuals. Knowing that there others who will hold you accountable to perform certain tasks also elevates those tasks from mere “to-dos”. We all perform better when we know others are watching.
Tool #5 – “Do It Now” Affirmations
No one likes to be nagged. Nagging, whether we realize it or not, alters our behavior. We tend to get something done that we don’t want to do when we are repeatedly nagged about it. The “Do It Now” affirmation is a self-nagging technique that really works. By repeating the words “Do It Now” over and over again, we are effectively nagging ourselves. When I uncovered this tool during my research, I began using it to nag myself into doing things I regularly procrastinated on, like time and billing. Now all I have to do is think about the affirmation in order for the nagging to alter my behavior and force me to get a task done.