From Calvenn: I have always been in great company when reading, listening or attending Wayne’s journey. The information that he presents is classic for any time of your life. He is present and full of wisdom for letting you get the most out of your life. Enjoy!

Are you a procrastinator? If you’re like most people, the answer to that is yes. But chances are that you’d rather not live with all that anxiety that accompanies putting things off as a way of life. You may find yourself postponing many tasks that you want to accomplish, and yet for some reason you just keep suspending action. This procrastination business is a mighty tiresome facet of life. If you’ve got a bad case, hardly a day goes by that you don’t say, “I know I should be doing it, but I’ll get around to it later.” Your “putting it off” erroneous zone is difficult to blame on outside forces. It’s all yours – both the putting off and the discomfort you endure as a result of it.

Procrastination is the closest there is to a universal erroneous zone. Very few people can honestly say that they are not procrastinators, despite the fact that it is unhealthy in the long run. As in all erroneous zones, there is nothing unhealthy about the behavior itself. Putting it off, in fact, doesn’t even exist. You simply do, and those things you don’t do, in reality, are just undone, rather than postponed. It is only the accompanying emotional reaction and immobilization that represent neurotic behavior. If you feel that you put things off, and like it, with no attending guilt, anxiety or upset, then by all mean hang onto it. However, procrastination is really an escape from living present moments as fully as possible.

As long as you say maybe, or hope, or wish, you can use these as a rationale for not doing anything now. All wishing and hoping are a waste of time – the folly of fairyland residents. No amount of either ever got anything accomplished. They are merely convenient escape clauses from rolling up your sleeves and taking on tasks that you’ve decided are important enough to be on your list of life activities.

You can do anything that you set your mind to accomplish. You are strong, capable and not the least bit brittle. But by putting things off for a future moment, you are giving into escapism, self-doubt, and most significantly, self-delusion. Your putting it off zone is a movement away from being strong in your now, and toward the direction of hoping that things will improve in your future.

Here are some techniques for ousting this postponing behavior:

  • Make a decision to live five minutes at a time. Instead of thinking of tasks in long-range terms, think about now and try to use up a five-minute period doing what you want, refusing to put off anything that would bring satisfaction.
  • Ask yourself, “What is the worst things that could happen to me if I did what I’m putting off right now?” The answer is usually so insignificant that it may jar you into action. Assess your fear and you’ll have no reason to hang onto it.
  • Think of yourself as too significant to live with anxiety about the things you have to do. So, the next time you know you are uncomfortable with postponement anxiety, remember that people who love themselves don’t hurt themselves that way.
  • Be courageous about undertaking an activity that you’ve been avoiding. One act of courage can eliminate all that fear. Stop telling yourself that you must perform well. Remind yourself that doing it is far more important.
  • Decide not to be tired until the moment before you get into bed. Don’t allow yourself to use fatigue or illness as an escape or to put off doing anything. You may find that when you take away the reason for the illness or exhaustion – that is, avoidance of a task – physical problems “magically” disappear.
  • Look hard at your life. Are you doing what you’d choose to be doing if you knew you had six months to live? If not, you’d better begin doing it because relatively speaking, that’s all you have. Given the eternity of time, thirty years or six months makes no difference. Your total lifetime is a mere speck. Delaying anything makes no sense.

If you want the world to change, don’t complain about it. Do something. Rather than using up your present moments with all kinds of immobilizing anxiety over what you are putting off, take charge of this nasty erroneous zone and live now! Be a doer, not a wisher, hoper or critic.

— Dr. Wayne W. Dyer