Should you indulge procrastination?

Chris Widener puts out a great newsletter. Recently, he talked about those times when we don’t feel like doing what we know we should be doing. Is that procrastination kicking in, or is it something else? Chris offers five ideas for confronting and dealing with these feelings:

  1. Honestly evaluate whether or not you need a break. It could be a desire to procrastinate, but take an honest look and evaluate whether it is evasion or fatigue. Sometimes we really are tired; if so, take a break. If you aren’t sure, try one of these other techniques.
  2. Start small. One way to work through the desire to procrastinate is to give yourself a small goal to work toward, after which you will take a break. For example, it is better to do a short workout than skip your workout all together.
  3. Change your routine. Sometimes, it is our boring routine that tempts us to blow things off. Why not change up the routine to make it more interesting?
  4. Reward yourself. Procrastination and reward seem at odds. They are. But why not figure out what must be done right now and give yourself a small reward? Celebrating victories is important to your self image. And if a small reward will keep you from goofing off, isn’t it worth it?
  5. Reconnect the action with pleasure rather than pain My take: think Mary Poppins. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find it, and snap, the job’s a game!”

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything


Ronald Reagan on Procrastination

I’m reminded of a great story that was told to me a few years back about former President Ronald Reagan that illustrates what can happen to us if we procrastinate making decisions. When he was a small child, he had an aunt who took him to a shoemaker to make a pair of shoes. When they arrived, the shoemaker asked the young Reagan whether he wanted the toes of his shoes squared or rounded. Not sure of the style he wanted, he told the shoemaker he would come back in a few days and let him know.

A few days later, he returned, only to tell the shoemaker he still needed a few more days to make his decision. As soon as he walked in the door the third time, the shoemaker handed him his shoes with one square-toed shoe and one round-toed shoe. Reagan said years later it was a lesson that stayed with him the rest of his life. When he wore those shoes, he said, “It was a visual reminder that if I don’t make the decision, someone else will.”

–As told by John Maxwell at