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When you occasionally put things off, it probably means that what you are putting off is simply what you choose not to do at that particular time. Depending on how frequently this occurs, it may not be a problem. However, if your life style includes habitual procrastination, it may

suggest a conflict.

It may mean that you have a fear of success—or a fear of failure. Being successful may mean that you could be in danger of not being liked, that others will be jealous and resentful of your success. It could also mean that you are afraid that you won’t reach the high goals you have set and then you would be deemed a failure. Rather than attempt to reach these goals, you procrastinate.

Procrastination is stressful. Anxiety ensues when you leave things to the last moment than do an inadequate job with whatever you neglected to do in a timely fashion, or you miss the boat entirely.

Procrastination keeps you stuck and does not allow you to confront life’s opportunities, thus missing out on what could be very enjoyable and gratifying.

If you decide to move out of the state of procrastination, you could then identify the purpose your procrastination meant for you.

To help you in this process, you may ask yourself, "What would happen if I did not procrastinate?" What possibilities would be there for me? Once you understand what is keeping you stuck, than you can choose to move forward.

The biggest problem is getting it going.

Set easy small goals in the beginning. Give yourself a task and spread it out in steps, doing one step at a time. Make a contract with yourself to do a small amount of work at a time. Give yourself half an hour to do a task, plugging away at it for the time you’ve set. If you see you are making progress, give yourself another half-hour and continue in half hour segments. Be alert to distracting influences, such as that beckoning chocolate bar, or the TV drama that awaits your attention.

Reward yourself for the steps you are taking. That chocolate bar will taste all the better when you have completed the task you have assigned yourself.

This article is reprinted from Ask Dr Ceren, a weekly news column in the Del Mar Times.

Dr. Ceren is a long time psychologist and author in Del Mar. You can visit Dr.Ceren's web site at




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