A Physician's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination

Do you feel like you are waiting for the right time to strike that important task, but it just never seems to come? You know yourself, so be honest with yourself.

Sometimes as physicians, we would like to think that we can’t be procrastinators since we’re always dealing with important tasks that, for the best of our patients, can’t be put aside.

But that isn’t entirely true.

Think about the paperwork, the continuing education credits that we put off until the last minute, the journals that we have been meaning to read, and so many other tasks that we just never seem to have the time to do. If this sounds familiar, then you may have a time management problem, or more specifically, a procrastination problem.

If you find that you keep putting off the things that you need to do, but don’t really feel like doing, then you may want to check out these tips for overcoming procrastination.

Recognize Procrastination for What It Is

It may seem a bit simple that recognizing your behavior as procrastination is the first step to improving it, but it is vital. There are a few ways you can determine if you happen to be procrastinating. Do you spend a great deal of your time doing tasks that aren’t important or urgent when there are other tasks that should be higher on your to-do list? Do you sit down to finally tackle that task you’ve been putting off only to find that something else has come up, and that task never gets completed? Do you feel like you are waiting for the right time to strike that important task, but it just never seems to come? These are just a few signs that you are procrastinating. You know yourself, so be honest with yourself.

Identify Why You’re Procrastinating

It is often easier to tackle procrastination when you can identify why exactly you’re doing it. This can help you to adjust your methodology when it comes time to work on the tasks you want to avoid. Some of the reasons that people procrastinate are that they find certain tasks unpleasant, they feel overwhelmed, they are disorganized, they have a sense of perfectionism, or they have a hard time deciding which tasks to prioritize. Try to determine your personal reason for procrastinating.

Adopt New Methodologies to Stop Procrastinating

If you have been honest with yourself about why you’ve been procrastinating, you will be able to adopt new methodologies to put an end to this habit.

You can create rewards that make you want to finish something you’ve been putting off. For instance, you can promise yourself the chance to do an activity that you enjoy doing, but don’t often have time to do. Whatever incentive you need to sit down to get busy should be applied to helping end your procrastination.

  • Remind yourself of what will happen if you don’t finish the task on time. Sometimes, being reminded of negative consequences will be enough of a kick to get you started on that task you dislike.
  • Start making up a to-do list if your important undertakings are getting lost in the shuffle.
  • Break tasks down into smaller parts if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Lastly, get someone else involved. A personal coach will hold you accountable and help you stay on track toward reaching your goals.

Procrastinating is something that may not seem like such a big deal in the scheme of things. You handle your job as a physician without any problems, so why worry if you don’t get that CME done in a timely fashion or your documentation sits a little longer than it should? Well, you may find that once you put an end to procrastination, you are able to handle your tasks a bit more efficiently. Since you are no longer looking for other things to do, you may find that you have more time to do what you want to do with your day, whether that’s improving your workplace or finding a better work/life balance. Now is the time to stop putting things off for tomorrow, and to start diving into those tasks that would’ve taken you forever yesterday. If you need help breaking through the habit and would like to learn more about personal coaching, visit physiciancoach.guru/coaching.