Physicians are no strangers to procrastination. Though we might be a little disappointed, we aren’t terribly surprised when patients come back for a refill of their cholesterol medication many months after they should have run out, when they take a year to do the blood tests I ordered, and when they return not having started that exercise program, lost weight or quit smoking.
If this happens too often, it sends an important message to the physician. No, it doesn’t mean he has a bunch of deadbeat patients. It could mean he hasn’t given all his patients the support they need to achieve their goals. This would include anticipating potential obstacles, arranging any follow-up that might be needed, or breaking a bigger goal into smaller more doable goals.
If my patient procrastinates the goal I’ve set for him, it could also mean that it’s not really his goal. Patients are generally polite and will go along with the doctors’ plan – at least until they leave the office. If the goal isn’t important to the individual, he won’t bother making the change.
This is relevant to wives whose husbands seem to procrastinate particular items on their to do list. If they’re not important items on the husband’s list, they are less likely to be done.
If you’ve been procrastinating the same thing for ages, ask yourself if it’s important to you. If it really isn’t, take it off your list. You’ve got a lot more important things to put off doing until tomorrow.
Next: What’s on your procrastination list? Let’s be honest. We all have a list even if we don’t get around to actually writing it down.