There are many reasons we don’t do what we intend. What is yours, and is it “procrastination” or something else?
Here is: A hard line on a valueless skill.
There is a little barb, a sting, attached to the word “procrastinate” that is not necessarily there when you say “delay”, “postpone” or “take a raincheck.”
What makes it sting?
“Procrastination” has an element of guilt -or at least culpability – because it is the intentional putting off or deferring of something that ought to be done.
There it is: the heart of the sting is the phrase: OUGHT TO.
So, how do you know if it is really procrastination?
- You are choosing to NOT do something
- You have a desire, need or obligation to do it
(ask yourself if you feel an ‘ought’, ‘should’, ‘need to’ attached
to what you are avoiding doing)
How do you stop the procrastination?
I have thought long and hard about this. The bottom line, after you go through all the irritating mind-chatter, is one of 2 things:
- Do it. Nike-style: just do it. Begin!
- Decide not to do it. Take it of your list.
So, if it is that simple, why does procrastination remain such a huge problem for so many people?
For all you procrastinators out there, that are looking for some kind of validation, or to resonate with some valid sounding excuse, I have put together a short list of the top “mind tricks” we employ to stay uncomfortably procrastinating.
If you are looking for a gentle prod, you might have to wait for a different posting. Here I am taking the shotgun approach:
- Fear. We tell ourselves we fear failure – ridicule and embarrassment are favorites here, but you can also justify procrastination by focusing on possible losses. Fearing success affords you tension-creators that range from abandonment to overwhelm.
- Resisting pressure. Telling ourselves that we don’t like being told what to do, or that we don’t like doing something allows us to relish in a sense of (false) independence. We get to enjoy the drama of an unfair world or unjust people.
- Busyness. We can feel so important and valuable if we are so busy we cannot find time to do the most pressing things – and even more so if we can see delegation as a cop out. It’s worth pointing that if you really are so busy you cannot do something, it is not a choice and thus not procrastination.
- Lacking something. You don’t know how to do something, where to start, or what to do next is a great reason to park off in the procrastination zone. If you do not find the answers or the resources, you can stay there a long, long time. It takes no effort, and yet it still drains your energy.
- I don’t care. Oh, stop it! If you really don’t care, you have taken step B above. If you are telling yourself you don’t care when you do, are probably a drama addict doing some version of #2, resisting pressure. At the very least, you are avoiding sorting out your mental, emotional and spiritual priorities.
When thinking about things, reasoning with yourself, isn’t enough to get you doing them…
- Emotion might get you going: You could guilt yourself into doing it (or have someone make you feel guilty), or you might look for the satisfaction in accomplishing it, and if you can’t get angry or excited enough…
- Getting in touch with what truly matters about either the activity or the outcome might be the starter fuel you need.
If your procrastination still hurts, CLICK HERE to let me know.
I genuinely have some salve for you.
Author: Sue Hines