Why do today what can be put off till tomorrow? Not words to live by, but words we all too often do live by. I always felt more afflicted by this character flaw than friends of mine were, but I’ve only ever known a few people who seemed immune.

I spent most of my life assuming I was just lazy, but then I heard an almost offhand comment about procrastination often being tied to anxiety. I think it was during an interview of Charles Duhigg, probably best known for his book The Power of Habit, but I’m not sure. This apprehension could be due to fear of an outcome, of failure, or from uncertainty stemming from not quite knowing how to accomplish a task.

This made a lot of sense to me, and it seem to fit well with the facts in my life, but while I felt better about myself, I didn’t really get better about avoiding procrastination. This truth did hover around in the back of my head though, and I recently made a breakthrough of sorts.

I set for myself a simple rule to stop what I was doing any time I felt the desire to put something off and immediately work to identify the specific source of the problem. There’s no need to do anything about fixing this problem; I just need to identify and capture it. Nine times out of ten, however, I decide to take action anyway.

This probably sounds too simple, but I hope you try it out. You can even wait till tomorrow, if you want.