By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
I’ll do it tomorrow...
I’ll get started when…
I’ll be ready to do this when…
Any of these thoughts sound familiar? Good old procrastination...the ultimate in halting your dream chasing, goal getting, live your best life journey! Who hasn’t fallen into the comfortable, safe spell of procrastination? Today, it’s time to break that spell and wake up! Knowing what you are dealing with is the start of the battle! Here are 5 insights on what procrastination is...and isn’t! (They might surprise you!)
#1: Procrastination ISN’T being lazy!
Did that one surprise you? This is a common misconception about procrastination! Procrastination is an active process - you are choosing to do something else instead of the task ahead. Think about it! An example would be to tidy your desk or reorganize your files instead of working on the current project.
#2: Procrastination IS an attempt to protect yourself.
It’s a bad attempt, lol. Procrastination is triggered when what you need to do isn't what you want to do. It might not be fun or it might be pushing you out of your comfort zone. Procrastination redirects you to something that is more fun or already comfortable over what really needs to be done. It's a bandaid approach to life happiness.
#3: Procrastination ISN’T one-size fits all.
There are many reasons that procrastination is triggered. It could be from a place of self-doubt or “not enoughing” yourself, where you feel you aren’t experienced enough, good enough, in shape enough, tall enough, outgoing enough...you get the picture, right? It could come from wanting to do what is more fun or easy. It could come from fear of failure or even fear of success. The root of procrastination is the same, avoiding something potentially negative and choosing something more positive in the moment. Knowing your personal triggers for procrastination are important to course correct.
#4: Procrastination IS related to perfectionism.
This one often shocks people! Perfectionists are often the worst procrastinators, which doesn’t seem to go together, right? Wrong! The essence of perfectionism is that everything is going to be perfect before they get started. If the perfectionist feels the time isn’t right or they aren’t prepared or the perfect plan isn’t devised or Mercury is in retrograde, they simply won’t start. Since perfect isn’t attainable, there is always some excuse to be made, a perfectionist may simply never take the leap.
#5: Procrastination ISN’T successful at preventing negative feelings.
The driving force behind procrastination is to avoid negative feelings like failure or disappointment or not having fun or being uncomfortable. To avoid these potential feelings, procrastination drives you towards sources of enjoyment and positivity. Since the task at hand that needs to be done is still left undone, the feelings of positivity are fleeting and quickly replaced by guilt, shame, and stress.
Weren’t some of those surprising? To summarize, procrastination is an active attempt to prevent negative events from happening, however, in the process, more negativity is actually brought into your life. While some of these may seem similar, each one stems from a slightly different internal struggle. Procrastination left unchecked can develop into a habit, which is the last thing any of us want. Here are some tips to help you combat procrastination:
The first step is realizing you are procrastinating...you can’t stop something you aren’t aware is happening! Two signs of procrastination are putting things off indefinitely and changing your focus to avoid doing something.
2. Uncover the Why
To really stop procrastination, you need to know why you are doing it. Are you bored? Is the task unpleasant or not fun? Are you unorganized? Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you afraid to fail? Are you paralyzed by indecision? Are you a perfectionist? Fix the why and you take away procrastination’s driving force.
3. Break the Habit Cycle
Like many other repetitive behaviors, procrastination can become a habit...a very non-serving habit. Recognize what triggers procrastination but upgrade it with taking action, rather than procrastinating. This will take time, so be patient, but will be worth it.
4. Devise a Strategy
Depending on why and what you are procrastinating on, the strategy will be different. Start this process by giving yourself grace as you move through this process and forgive yourself for past behaviors. Work on your mindset, focusing on doing rather than avoiding. Reward yourself for taking action rather than procrastinating. Act before procrastination has a chance to set in. Practice positive self-talk, replace phrases like “need to” or “have to” or “should do” with “get to” and “choose to”. Set yourself up for success by minimizing distractions during tasks that you normally avoid.
5. Take Brian Tracy’s Advice
And...eat that frog! Huh?!? Brian Tracy is the author of the book, Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. He explains that if you knew you had to eat a big, fat, ugly frog by the end of the day, isn’t it better to get it over with right away rather than have it hanging over your head all day? This is just one strategy he suggests to get over procrastination...I highly recommend this book for procrastinators or anyone that wants to get more out of their day!
If you want to live a fun, inspired, intentional life, the life of your dreams, the life that you deserve, you need to give procrastination the boot. Upgrading un-serving habits takes time but this will be time well spent, DreamChaser! You are more capable than you give yourself credit for...you got this!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.