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Coach Paradise: Don't Put Off Making Your Life Better

Dear Coach Paradise —
I am a procrastinator. I endlessly put off routine tasks that must be done — at home and at work. My house is usually a mess, and so is my desk. I put off signing up for things until it's too late, so I miss out and end up waiting in long lines at the end of the month with all the other people just like me. Sometimes it's just a matter of appearance (the messy house), but sometimes it really gets me into trouble, like when I left that work report until the day before it was due and my daughter got sick, so I didnt have that last day to get it out. I hate making lame excuses that even I dont believe. I am really and truly ready to make some changes. I hope you can help.
Signed,
Ill do it later
Dear Later,
Wow. It sounds like you are ready for something different in your life. However long you have put off asking for help, congratulations on doing it now! Telling the truth and being willing to consider new approaches are big first steps in any process of change.
To kill the procrastination habit in all areas of your life involves becoming empowered. (As in superhero or ordinary hero, with or without a cape.) Did you know that people who "do it now are, on average, in better health, live longer, have more and closer friends, longer marriages, better jobs, are wealthier, happier and in positions of greater responsibility than procrastinators? They see that little steps can get them where they want to go and that big projects are just a series of small, easy-to-accomplish tasks.
No-brainer routine tasks pave the way for bigger, better results. So how do you become one of these highly successful, guilt free, do-it now people?
First of all by refusing to see yourself as a victim — which means putting an end to feeling sorry for yourself, thinking that life is unfair and getting frustrated and quitting before you have even started. Second, by choosing what you take on with care and delegating when you can. Martyr and victim are in the same club. Third, by seeing the bigger picture and realizing that the tasks are leading you somewhere you want to go. If they are not, it may be time to repaint the bigger picture, reevaluate where you are going and what really matters.
Last but most important is to give up the notion that because you procrastinate there is something wrong with you that needs fixing. This way of thinking will keep you focused on the problem, which tends to lead to more of the same. Try shifting your attention to how you will feel and how things will be when you no longer have this problem. Picture how you will feel sitting in your clean living room, working at your organized desk, having completed the work project before the deadline. I can see you taking the afternoon off. If something comes up, you will feel sooo good knowing that the pie's in the oven, the check's in the mail, your homework is neatly typed and handed in. Try this next time you are tempted to say, "Ill do it later." Imagine how great you will feel when it is done, and let that feeling be your guide.
To your success,
Coach Paradise
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (AKA Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker/psychotherapist, and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges.
For further information about her services, call 774-4355 or email her.

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