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Why We Procrastinate (and how to stop)

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Procrastination is the mortal enemy of time-management. In the case of busy loan officers, it’s rarely a case of laziness or carelessness, but instead, procrastination usually occurs when we ask ourselves to do too much. When we’re ambitious and insist on highest-quality work, our to-do lists can get longer and longer. And when that happens, the tendency to procrastinate creeps in. Your long-term success isn’t going to be affected too much by the occasional shifting of something from today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s list, but if you see a pattern develop, it needs closer attention. Here are a few common reasons why we procrastinate, and some solutions to help:

Insisting on Perfection

If we’re in the habit of insisting on absolute perfection from ourselves, it can make starting something new feel like an unpleasant task. It is, of course, important to have the highest standards, but if we’re insistent on perfection, we might put something off if we don’t think we can get those flawless results. Brainstorming, trials, and drafts are helpful tools when we want to get started on something new and we’re afraid we might not do it perfectly. We need to allow ourselves patience and space when we start something. We can always refine whatever it is as we go along.

Poor Planning

If we move through the day-to-day confident that we can handle whatever needs to get done, we may be functioning inefficiently and limiting our ability to accomplish and grow. Again, look for patterns. If you’re consistently failing to complete all you intended during the workday, you may need to improve your ability to plan. When we take time to formulate a plan for our days, it ensures we have a clearer idea of what we can realistically accomplish. Then, instead of having a 20-item to-do list where 10 items get moved to the next day, we can prioritize properly and get the essentials done while scheduling the remainder for other days. We can use that plan as a guide to keep us on top of everything that needs to be addressed as the day progresses. When we give ourselves a manageable to-do list every day, we’re going to be much less likely to procrastinate.

We’re Distracted

Distractions are sneaky — we don’t always spot them because they’re such an ingrained part of our days. It could be our email inbox, our phones, social media, or chatty colleagues; Whatever shape the distractions take can cause us to lose valuable time. It’s precisely when we feel there’s not enough time in the day that we back things up or put them off until tomorrow. When we become aware of what’s distracting us, we can then start limiting and removing them. Then, we’re operating with higher efficiency and we’re less likely to procrastinate.

Unrealistic Goals

Having ambitious goals is a good thing — they force us out of out of our comfort zones and allow us to grow in new and exciting ways. If we’re not cautious, though, some of those goals can backfire. Then, rather than motivating us to move forward, we may begin to feel like they’re impossible to reach. Consider breaking each goal into a series of smaller goals. That method keeps us from feeling like we’re not making enough progress and makes our goals feel less like Sisyphean tasks. Small, actionable steps allow us to see progression all the time. Running a marathon can be daunting, but running a mile or two at a time is much more doable. Even if your steps are small, you’re still moving in the right direction toward the goal.


Eliminating procrastination is something we should all strive to do. The better we understand why it happens, the easier it will be to eradicate it.

If you’d like to talk more about procrastination, or if there’s something else I can be of assistance with, please reach out. I’m always happy to block off some time to connect.

Don Riggs

VP – Retail Market Leader

NMLS 132702



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