Bob Goldman

I really should have finished this column three days ago. I would have done it, too, but since I am writing about procrastination -- a subject I know nothing about -- I wanted to experience the anxiety, fear and self-loathing that apparently plague procrastinators.

Funnily enough, I was neither anxious nor fearful nor full of loathing -- no more than usual, anyway. In fact, putting aside an important project to frolic among the flowers that bloom in the springtime was quite delightful. I tell you, the ant may get a lot accomplished, but it's a lot more fun being the grasshopper.

I was inspired to procrastinate by a Jude Bijou article in Ms. Bijou, with a resume that includes psychotherapist, professional essayist, workshop leader and award-winning author, is clearly no procrastinator, and she is generous of nature, which I'm sure was the reason she wrote "7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating at Work and Get More Done."

Technique No. 1 is "name the challenge and the goal." According to author Bijou, "writing down the specific task you've been putting off helps you get focused." This is true. Tomorrow, when you come into work, and before you find yourself frozen in inactivity, write down, "I am going to turn on my computer before lunch, instead of sitting here all morning pretending to work."

(What will keep you from procrastinating over writing this note, I'm not exactly sure. You'll probably have to write yourself a note to write yourself a note, and then write yourself another note to write the note that will remind you to write the note. But don't get discouraged. With all that scribbling, it will definitely look like you're working.)

"Pinpoint your emotions" is Technique No. 2. Beyond all your excuses for not starting your work are three basic emotions: fear, anger and sadness. If you want to jump over these roadblocks, you'll have to release "pent-up emotions and energy."

This brings us to Technique No. 3, in which Ms. Bijou suggests that if you're sad, you "go watch a sentimental movie and cry." This is an excellent strategy, but just in case your manager proves unenthusiastic about your decision to spend the morning watching weepy melodramas on Netflix, don't give up. You can achieve the same level of misery by simply looking at your paycheck.

"Counter defeating chatter with truths" is Technique No. 4. Your goal here is to "find a positive statement that is simple and true," and then "say these truths over and over until they are louder than your negative internal chatter."

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

Be the first to read Bob Goldman's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.


Get the best of Townhall Finance Daily delivered straight to your inbox

Follow Townhall Finance!