It is such a natural thing to do, put something off because we are afraid of the outcome...

Or is it the perceived outcome? Quite often the outcome is nowhere near as bad as we think.  I have spoken to many people about this at training events and without a doubt, everyone agrees. Is it not the case that what we actually fear is the perception of what might happen which is often nothing like the reality at all. I can hear some cynics now saying "But sometimes it is" but my response is always if you put it off any longer the only thing it can do is get worse, things become even more complicated if you put things off, you forget things and it adds to the uncertainty that is affecting your own thinking in the first place.

This is all part of a process called 'procrastination' for those of you unfamiliar with the phrase it is basically putting things off. We speak about this at a lot of our events, particularly on our time management and management courses. What we will do is not do things and then come up with a list of reasons and rationale of the reasons why we are putting things off. Sometimes we may actually convince ourselves that putting things off is the right thing to do and will come up with all the rationale to back this up such as:

1. I need time to think this through

2. It is alright for them the have the experience, financial support, back-up, resources (Insert the appropriate word as necessary to fit why you are putting things off)

3. It may go wrong!!!

4. I will look stupid

It then becomes part of our belief system and we think it is real.  If we are not careful we will create this as a habit and then do it without thinking.

Procrastination is the devil's work! It is opportunity's natural assassin and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. Someone once told me "Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday" and this is true do the things you fear most now and watch the fears disappear.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.