Procrastination causes us to miss many opportunities and can also be costly. A recent study by research firm Basex puts the cost of unnecessary interruptions in terms of lost productivity and innovation at a shocking $650 billion. Any time you put something off, the problem gets bigger, which leads to more stress and possibly another bout of procrastination, because now the task is REALLY ugly.

Procrastinating on major financial decisions may lead to a number of pitfalls such as making hasty decisions without adequate research, having insufficient time to read and analyze the “fine print” in contracts, not having adequate insurance coverage or assets in times of need. The simple things can add up also. You know routine tasks.  Maybe youʼre too tired to look up your checking account balance? Didn’t feel like looking for a stamp for the one bill that you need to mail in? Don’t be surprised if you trigger a bounced check or late fee. You didnʼt plan your meals even though It takes a few minutes each week to put a meal plan together, but if you don’t you’ll find you spend more in the grocery store and at your local take-out spot. Home security. It takes time to

install security lights and an alarm. But even with homeowners insurance you’ll deal with a deductible, a lot of paperwork, and the sense of being violated if your home is burglarized. Your issue maybe retirement planning because it seems so far away. We often think retirement is too far in the future to consider. In your forties and fifties, it seems like it might already be too late. Putting off planning for your later years could have nasty consequences when it comes time to retire.

But instead of feeling that you have to tackle the whole thing in one fell swoop, use the dash approach instead. Commit to a short burst of focused activity during which you force yourself to do nothing but work on the procrastinated item for a very short period

of time. Really short as in one minute.

What’s so different about the dash? It accomplishes that most difficult of tasks: getting you started.

This is how you start:

• Pick your appropriate dash — time-based for some projects, unit-based for others, or a combination in which you stop when you reach one threshold or the other —

•Choose a time or a target that’s long enough to actually accomplish something but too short to seem intimidating. For example, set a timer for 10 minutes and spend that long filing. Or if you need to write a report, get 100 words on the page. Then stop.

• Donʼt wait do it now. If you’re on a roll and want to continue, by all means do so; but the beauty of the dash is that it’s no-strings attached. If after 10 minutes or 100 words you’re ready for a coffee break, just move on. But chances are you won’t,  because now you’re kicking

procrastination in the behind.


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