The More You Do – The Better You Feel

How To Learn to Overcome Procrastination and Live a Happier Life

Chapter One

required extensive plastering, then a coating of primer, and last but not least, paint. Perhaps it might have been better to stop, assess the situation, and if necessary, hire professional painters and observe how they did the work, preferably from an easy chair. But I was stuck in the land of procrastination, and even if it was in spite of myself, I was determined to finish the job.

Somewhere between somehow and eventually, I finished painting my apartment. I recall feeling good for a short while, and feeling a sense of relief as well. However, as soon as that warm glow of satisfaction began fading, in its place I began reviewing, examining and criticizing the efforts that had brought that job to a close:

  • “Why didn’t I finish it sooner?”
  • “It really wasn’t that difficult, was it? Why am I so dumb?”
  • “What’s wrong with me?

The typical habitual procrastinator lives in a self-contained and depressive world that, for the most part, consists of unrealistic expectations, broken self-promises, and frustration. We target ourselves with character assassination by placing unrealistic and unattainable demands upon ourselves. Plodding through life, we harbor anger at what we perceive of as an uncooperative world filled with people who seem more able and more capable of routinely coping with tasks—the same tasks that drive us to distraction. Yet, for the most part, our anger is directed at ourselves.

Procrastinating in the Workplace

Although I don’t know for certain the exact moment in time when I first began procrastinating, I can easily recall many times when it caused me great upheaval. Once, while working as a temporary office assistant at a television network in midtown Manhattan, I failed to see what all the fuss and bother was about a contract that needed to be sent overnight to Hollywood.

The next morning my supervisor came by, and she appeared more appalled over my lack of concern about the contract, still lying on my desk, than for the contract itself. Although I can now see that her concern was justified, I recall thinking at the time, “If it was so important, why did they trust it to a temp in the first place?”