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Dealing with Dreaded Deadlines
by Andrew E. Schwartz

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Procrastination. You've known about it since high school or college, when everybody boasted about it. Everyone put off papers for a basketball game or a night on the town. It was OK--you only go through college once, right?

You left college, but did you leave procrastination? You are now accountable for procedures and personnel responsibilities more complicated and more consequential than any you mustered in college. Have your habits and attitudes evolved to handle them?

All of us still procrastinate about something, sometime. In the face of some task or situation that demands action or decision, we all purposefully waste time. It may cost us money, reputation, or opportunity, and it always costs us peace of mind. How can we change? How can we tackle procrastination and control it before it runs us to the ground?

By taking these four steps:

  1. Recognition. Be aware of the costs of procrastination and the benefits of reform.
  2. Insight. Discover procrastination patterns in our work.
  3. Enlightenment. Learn the ways other people have successfully changed their habits.
  4. Action. Begin to use those methods to change our own habits.

Costs: Short-term Rest, Long-term Worry
Procrastination is a choice. Faced with some distasteful obligation, large or small, professional or personal, we choose to do anything but carry it out. At first, its deadline is comfortably distant. There is no need to act because we have so much time. So, we accomplish more urgent tasks at hand and pursue activities we enjoy.

Andrew E. Schwartz, CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates of Boston, MA a comprehensive management training and professional development organization offering over 40 skills specific programs and practical solutions to today's business challenges. Special thanks to: Estelina L. Dallett.

Copyright, AE Schwartz & Associates. All rights reserved.
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