Procrastination – Science and Remedy – Part One

Procrastination – Science and Remedy – Part One

INTRO: During the course of my 22 years of practicing law in the estate planning arena, a large percentage of my clients communicate that they: i) are uncomfortable about having procrastinated – some for years and others for decades – in establishing and/or reviewing and updating their estate plans; ii) feel relieved and pleased about having completed the project; and iii) indicate that the process was much easier and less stressful than they expected.

So, why do people procrastinate, and how can one overcome the tendency to procrastinate – both in general, and in connection with something as important as estate planning? I read with a keen interest a recent article in the Wall St. Journal, captioned “Never Procrastinate Again”. In this blog post, I’ll outline some interesting points raised in that article and highlight what I believe to be the key “take aways”.

The article states that procrastination is defined by scientists as “the intentional delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences”. The author, Shirley S. Wang, points out that procrastination is not synonymous with laziness nor simply poor time management. We all know procrastinators – even chronic ones – whom we would be hard- pressed to label “lazy” or even bad time managers.

Most of my clients (and those who live in this community) are widely viewed as successful. It would therefore be logical to think that many of them procrastinate on certain projects because: a) they are perfectionists; b) they are somewhat paralyzed by their desire to do everything perfectly; and c) their associated anxiety causes them to avoid getting started.

Interestingly, however, studies indicate that it is not perfectionism or anxiety that prevents people from getting started. The article reflects that procrastinators “often seem unable to see clearly into the future about their choices and behaviors – a phenomenon she [Dr. Sirois] calls “temporal myopia”. In other words, “[T]heir vision of their future selves is often more abstract and impersonal, and they are less connected emotionally to these future selves”. Understandably, the high levels of stress experienced by procrastinators causes them to shift focus to immediate rather than distant matters.

PART TWO: How can you break the cycle of procrastination? Rob explains in Procrastination – Science and Remedy – Part Two.

This article is intended to provide information of a general nature, and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, financial and/or business advice. Readers should obtain and rely upon specific advice only from their own qualified professional advisors. This communication is not intended or written to be used, for the purpose of: i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

Mr. Silverman is an attorney with R. Silverman Law Group, 1855 Olympic Blvd., Suite 125, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 705-4474; rsilverman@rsilvermanlaw.com.

ESTATE & TRUST ADMINISTRATION: Need to find an experienced estate & trust administrator in Walnut Creek CA? Contact Robert Silverman at 925-705-4474 for legal advice on a Revocable Living Trust, “Summary” Estate Administration, Trust/Estate Beneficiary Representation and Will & Trust Disputes.

Next Procrastination – Science and Remedy – Part Two

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