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Don't let procrastination keep you down

Author Denis Waitley believes that one of the main causes of procrastination is a fear of success. "People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now," he explains. And Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quijote, wrote that "delay always breeds danger, and to protract a great design is often to ruin it."

Great thinkers throughout history have known that procrastination is the main reason people fail to live more rewarding and more prosperous lives. Take this quiz to find out if a fear of success is causing procrastination in your life:

- Are you passionate about the life you're living? Have you discovered your mission in life? Do you have a written list of long-term and short-term goals you want to achieve?

- Do you always ask yourself which of several tasks is the best way to spend your time? Do you always ask which task should be your higher priority in view of your short-term and long-term goals?

- If you won a large amount of money, would you continuing living as you are now? Are you living the kind of life that even money can't buy?

- Do you concentrate on the job you're doing in the present, rather than feeling sorry for yourself because you aren't living the life you wish you were living?

If you answered "yes" to all of the above questions, you're winning the war against procrastination. If you answered "no" to any of the questions, you need to recognize the possibility that procrastination is keeping you from living a richer life.

Ask yourself why you haven't written a vision for your life. What are the benefits of establishing priorities? Do you postpone tasks for justifiable reasons, or do you simply look for excuses to procrastinate.

Always ask yourself if a job needs to be done at all. Make a list of what you most regret not having done in your life because of the poor decisions you made in the past about how to spend your time. According to research findings, we spend as much as 80% of our time on tasks that do not contribute to the success of our projects. Many people load themselves down with work that is unnecessary or that could be justifiably postponed.

Are you passionate about your life and work? Ask yourself how you would spend your time if you won ten million dollars and never had to work again. These questions can lead to some surprising revelations about what your priorities should be. You may discover that you would be happier by making a career change, although in most cases people don't need to switch careers to start living a richer life-they just need to know what they really want.

As the novelist George Eliot said, "It's never too late to be the person you could have been." Today is a good day to start.


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