Ever had a time when you procrastinated and were happy you did?
Yeah, me neither.
Procrastination is intentionally delaying a task we know we must do. And we do it, even when the delay comes with a cost. So why?
I once thought it was because I lacked discipline. Or maybe because I lacked inspiration. I’m not a slacker…or am I?
What I know for sure is it’s not a character flaw. It is not impossible to overcome. And everyone deals with it.
We don’t procrastinate to avoid work; we do it to avoid our feelings.
When we come up against a task that requires effort or one that we don’t think we are going to enjoy, the brain irrupts in all the fear-based bs thoughts to distract us. (sadly it is programmed to do this and we all experience it!)
Thoughts of doubt, lack of competence, inadequacy, fear of failure….
Who wouldn’t want to turn on Netflix or clean the house to not feel those emotions, right?
If you have developed the procrastination habit and want to change things up, one of the best things you can do is to anticipate it happening. Create a plan for how you are going to execute the task and break it down into small, bite-sized chunks. Decide in advance so all you must do in the moment, is to commit to doing it. Follow the plan.
A lot of times, we look at something and say – I have a whole week to do this. I don’t have to do it now.
Maybe you should consider pre-crastination. (I may have made that up) Give yourself a deadline and hold yourself accountable. Create a reason to give it urgency!
Another hack is to create a mindset that will allow the initial work to be average, knowing you can always edit or enhance it later. Because you can’t improve on nothing.
My final piece of advice would be to be real about what you are dealing with. Your emotions are just emotions. They are vibrations in our bodies caused by thoughts in our brain. On their own, they last for an average of 90 seconds. Just don’t fuel the fire.
Call up your inner Spock and allow the emotions to just pass.
Procrastination increases feelings of stress and anxiety – things none of us need more of. We feel bad about the results of our procrastination and then we feel bad about feeling bad.
So when something does go sideways, own it. Don’t beat yourself up or spin the ‘wheel of blame’. It’s okay! You won’t be the first or last person to succumb to the whims of your brain.
But when you own the problem, you have the power to change it.
You’ve got this!