Lucky for me that I had procrastination as my theme for this week, as I certainly practiced it very well all week!
So I decided to discover it a little more since I was doing it. The good thing is, I was very aware of the fact that I was procrastinating. That is half the battle. Do you find that you keep putting important tasks off? You get busy with the not so important activities that may be more enjoyable instead?
Procrastination is exactly that, putting things off until ‘tomorrow’. Everyone procrastinates sometimes, recognising it and taking action immediately is the key. Otherwise procrastination can steal your dreams.
Whilst immediately it feel like procrastination gives us pleasure, in the long run it will bring pain on all so many levels. How come? Well first we put things of for something more pleasurable – or as I found this week, sometimes doing absolutely nothing, may even takes place, just so I don’t have to do what I set out to do – Then we start becoming self-critical for not doing the thing we put off sooner, then it starts seeming way too hard, making it even harder to start, till we start massively berate ourselves.
This process brings up all sorts of horrible feelings, guilt, inadequacy, anxiety and plenty other value judgements of ourselves.
So why do we procrastinate?
Procrastination is quite complex. It involves emotions, skills, thoughts, attitudes, and subconscious reactions based on past events.
The main reasons I found that we procrastinate is due to one of the following:
- Value Conflict
- Inner Critic
Let’s look at them closely.
We have several ‘values’ that we hold onto. These will help us decide what is right or wrong in our world, what is important and what is not, what we want in our lives and what we don’t.
Value conflicts arise if our values are out of balance, this in turn will cause the loss of interest in tasks and jobs that we are doing. Everything becomes way too hard.
So if what we are procrastinating about has no relevance to us, nor it is meaningful to us in some way, it will be very hard to get going or spend any time on it to make it happen.
This can be caused by many things that will result in procrastination.
You may be overwhelmed because the job at hand seems way too big! In such case, step back and break it down into smaller, manageable chunks.
You may get overwhelmed, because you feel that others may interfere in getting the job done. Or you feel uncertain as to what is expected of you. Or you may feel under qualified to bring the project to fruition. In any of these cases, we tend to just ignore the task completely, when really we could raise those concerns and find the solution there and then, rather than backing ourselves into a corner by procrastinating.
Funny thing about fear is, that the fear is worse than the thing that we are actually afraid of! On the pain of even thinking about failing, looking stupid, not knowing what will happen if we take the task on, worrying about the task, instead of getting on with it.
Fear can cause tremendous pressure and stress in our bodies!
If it is fear that is stopping you, I urge you to discover what the fear is about? Welcome the feeling, really spurge it on to find out what it is about, then it will dissipate. Welcome in peace in its place and you will find that the calmness cause by this will help you step back and evaluate your options to make the task happen objectively.
We all have one of those! And he/she is nasty!
In some instances it will require us to make sure everything is perfect, setting such high standards that we can never reach. Leaving us to be disappointed all the time! I always say to my clients, aim for excellence, not perfection! Otherwise you will never get started.
How about that little voice that tells you ‘I cannot succeed in anything’ or ’I am not good at this’. We can be our worst enemy at times! Tame your inner critic. When those thoughts arise, acknowledge them, and turn your thoughts around. If positive affirmations still bring up disbelief, ask yourself questions that will give a positive answer on why you can in fact do the given task, how you have already proven that it is within you!
Apart from the techniques mentioned within, there are also tools around to help you stop procrastinating. You could have an accountability partner that will check in with you to see how you are progressing, you can use to do lists, declare your goals publicly or set out a timeline with mile stones together with a reward system to keep you on task.
Learn to bust fear, stop procrastination and reprogram your mind to success with the Abundant Mind Toolkit.