Procrastination is delaying the accomplishment of something that should be done. Among all things that keep us from being productive, procrastination, at least to me, is the most insidious due to the fact that it is a learned habit that is developed over years. It creeps in without detection and infects people with no immediate symptoms. It isn’t until much later that problems arise that can be traced back to this disease. We find ourselves in a productivity hole, with many overdue tasks mounting to the point that it seems impossible to dig ourselves out from under them. Some people find that their job security has been compromised due to their deep-rooted procrastination.
Where do you stand with procrastination? It has been said that one cannot get to a destination, even with a map, until one knows where one is. In other words, we cannot begin to beat the habit of procrastination until we find how ingrained it is. Over at the Psychology Today web site, there is a procrastination quiz that one can take and get a simple score that will let you know just how serious your procrastination habit is. With forty questions and a 25 minute time investment, you can begin to work yourself out of the hole that procrastination has dug for you. You can get a general score for free, or pay a nominal fee to get a detailed analysis.
As someone who wrestles with procrastination everyday, I expected an extremely high score. In fact, I expected to blaze new trails at the high end of the spectrum. I took the quiz and based my answers on what I would have done in my pre-GTD days. I scored a 63, which meant my level was “elevated”:
“According to these results, your procrastination has reached a point where it may be negatively affecting your life. You would be well served to learn some strategies to stop or at least reduce the level of procrastination in your life. Procrastination in the long-term is unhealthy as it can lead to more stress and keep you from reaching your goals. The positive repercussions on your health and relationships should you decide to improve will be enormous.”
I have my procrastination under control as GTD has helped sort through some of the reasons I procrastinated. Prior to learning and using GTD, my life was being negatively impacted by my putting things off and did lead to a lot of stress. Now, lists in hand, I have what I need to be able to accomplish items at a much slower pace, get more of them accomplished, and can sleep easier at night.
Don’t get me wrong, GTD doesn’t cure procrastination as there are other psychological issues that cause people to put things off. However, GTD helped to reduce the level to one that is more manageable for me.