How to Overcome Procrastination Now
By Cary Bayer

                                         OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION
Inner Realm “Life 101” columnist Cary Bayer just had How to Overcome Procrastination, his eighth book, published by Heaven on Earth Publishing upstate in Woodstock. (His other books: Prosperity Aerobics, Relationships 101, Conscious Communication, 40 Days to a Happy Life, and the Think and Grow a Rich Massage Business trilogy for massage therapists.)  Recently, Inner Realm sat down with the Life Coach, founder of Higher Self Healing Meditation, workshop leader, and author to find out what pearls we could extract from his latest book.

INNER REALM: I’d love to read your book about procrastination, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
CARY BAYER: (Laughs) You know, I haven’t heard that one yet. I kid you. I teach a class called “The Comic Mind and the Cosmic Mind,” and I hear more jokes in my “How to Overcome Procrastination Now” class than I do in the comic mind class.

IR: You’ve written for Inner Realm for 13 years, and yet you’ve only written about procrastination once before. Why now a full-length book on a subject you’ve written so little on in the past?
CB: I haven’t written about it much, but in the 14 years I’ve been a full-time life coach, I’ve coaching many dozens of procrastinators and taught many hundreds more in my procrastination workshop. I thought it was time to write about it as well for those who don’t get a chance to take my workshop or coach with me privately. To paraphrase Allen Ginsberg in his classic poem, “Howl,” “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by procrastination.” 

IR: Destroyed is a strong word.
CB: You’re right, it is. Do you prefer damaged? Procrastination damages people in so many ways. People who habitually put off doing things experience more anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure than those who take care of things in their life in a timely manner. And I haven’t even mentioned all the lost financial opportunities, the slowing down of career advancements, the delayed spiritual growth, the weakened creative expression, and sometimes destroyed relationships. So, yes, destroyed at times is the right word to characterize the insidious effects of procrastination on a person’s life. There’s also a kind of “second hand procrastination” that affects people who have personal and professional relationships with procrastinators. People who perpetually delay doing things hurt the ones they love very deeply.

IR: What does your book teach people?
CB: That they can overcome procrastination. NOW!!! As in now. Did I remember to say now?

IR: How?
CB: How to Overcome Procrastination Now offers a curative step-by-step method to overcome one particular thing that people habitually delay. Once a person learns my method for overcoming procrastination and applies it to one particular thing, he can apply it to another thing that he procrastinates. It also presents the preventive Procrastination Aerobics.

IR: You discussed the Communication Aerobics in your book, Conscious Communication. What’s with all this aerobics?
CB: I use the term loosely. Aerobics are exercises to increase muscle tone, improve the performance of the heart, and so forth. In Conscious Communication, I taught daily exercises to enrich the quality of communication and relationships. In How to Overcome Procrastination Now, I offer a 15-minute daily program to raise self-esteem and make it harder for procrastination to return. Communication Aerobics and Procrastination Aerobics don’t create perspiration, but inspiration.

IR: What does self-esteem have to do with procrastination?
CB: In a word, a lot. OK, make it two words. I discovered that procrastination feeds on lowered self-esteem—guilt, worry, and fear, among other lower emotions. The flu attacks people when their immune systems are compromised; it’s harder for procrastination to take root when self-esteem is strong, spirits are high, and achievements are ongoing.

IR: What’s involved with the curative approach?
CB: An entire chapter addresses that issue, but in a short interview, I’d say that it involves a fun reward game, and breaks the tasks that people procrastinate into smaller, bite-size bits, like Procrastination McNuggets.

IR: Fun is the last word I’d use to overcome procrastination.
CB: That’s exactly my point. You know how we speak of infants going through the Terrible Twos?  Babies lack the vocabulary and options to get what they want, so they wail and act out with tantrums.  This is particularly acute at the age of about two. When adults procrastinate, especially in doing things that they’re going to do eventually anyway—like paying bills, for example—they’re behaving like infants.  Especially since by the time they pay those bills there’s a late fee that they have to pay.
It’s pretty clear that this kind of procrastination is quite irrational. 

IR: But I still don’t understand the connection between this adult procrastination and the Terrible Twos?
CB: When a middle-aged woman, let’s say, delays paying her mortgage, or when a retired man is late in paying his electric bill they’re acting out like infants—even worse than infants, because they’re old enough to know that they’ll pay higher fees for their delays. It makes absolutely no sense to incur a late fee for the delayed mortgage payment or a letter from the utility company threatening to cut off service, when they’re going to pay them anyway. Their irrational delays convey are what I call the Terrible Fifty Twos in her case, or the Terrible Seventy Twos in his.

IR: So how do you treat the Terrible Fifty Twos?
CB: What I’ve discovered in coaching dozens of procrastinators of all ages is that most procrastination is an irrational acting out by the wounded inner child of the adult procrastinator. So I don’t deal with an adult procrastinator in a totally rational manner. Her wounded inner child doesn’t want to do something—whether it’s sorting through boxes, doing paperwork, cleaning out the closet or attic, etc. So I appeal to the wounded inner child by offering fun rewards.

IR: That’s brilliant; children love fun.
CB: Thanks. The curative approach creates a balance between the rational adult and the irrational inner child in such a way that the adult starts doing what needs to be done and the inner child is satisfied with some new fun in his life. The program is tailored to the adult’s form of procrastination and the inner child’s specific needs.

IR: What else does your book deal with?
CB: There’s a procrastination meditation, a two-person acknowledgment exercise to raise self-esteem, and affirmations to overcome procrastination, among other things. The curative program solves the procrastination quickly and the Procrastination Aerobics keeps procrastinating from rearing its ugly head again.
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Cary Bayer is a Life Coach in New York and Florida, who's worked with Oscar-winners Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine), Pietro Scalia (JFK, Black Hawk Down), Emmy-winners comic/director David Steinberg (Academy Awards presentations) and Judy Henderson (Homeland), and Quality Inns, among others.  He ran his own communications company for 18 years.  Cary also writes a column on marketing and success for Massage Today nationally, and for massage publications in 14 states.
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