Procrastination is the reason smart people fail to succeed.
Have you ever set out to complete an important task only to find yourself doing something entirely different? You ventured to the kitchen for lunch even though you just ate an hour ago. That spreadsheet you made yesterday needed colour-coding. Your desk required rearranging. A coworker or family member had an urgent request…?
Suddenly it’s the end of the day, and you realize you managed to put that important task off for one more day…tomorrow is the day for a fresh start. You’ll get disciplined tomorrow. Yes.
I even procrastinated writing this blog on procrastination. It was on my to-do list 3 days ago! And even as I write I have my phone out and a million tabs open that offer to seduce me from my important task of writing.
WHAT IS PROCRASTINATION, EXACTLY?
Procrastination is an avoidance behavior, according to the experts. But it’s easy to brush it off as laziness when it’s, in fact, rooted in fear. The fear of making an uncomfortable move. Of not living up to one’s expectations. The fear of failure. The fear of success.
In this article, Eric Jaffe explains it like this…
True procrastination is a complicated failure of self-regulation: experts define it as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we’ll suffer as a result. A poor concept of time may exacerbate the problem, but an inability to manage emotions seems to be its very foundation.
It’s easy to push aside feelings of anxiety and dread that often accompany difficult to-dos and focus on tasks that are seemingly urgent, but less important. Instant gratification feels better…you can do something you know you’re good at, and you have the illusion of time.
You’ll get to the important stuff…eventually.
And in your quest to avoid negative feelings you end up feeling worse. That deadline is creeping up, and those anxious feelings will return…with a vengeance. This time they’ll be joined by shame and guilt. And the sense of shame and guilt may instigate further procrastination…a messy, self-defeating cycle.
“Procrastination is not Laziness,” I tell him. “It is fear. Call it by its right name, and forgive yourself.”― Julia Cameron, The Prosperous Heart
HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR LIFE?
If you’re reading this, chances are you acknowledge something is missing in your life. You may be a functioning procrastinator – you’re high performing and ambitious, but you’re avoiding the hard inner work.
You keep putting off the activities that will offer you fulfillment and joy. It’s scary, and your natural instinct is to flee and fill your time with work, family and friends. You persistently resist what you know you need to do to reach your full potential.
You’ve most likely heard, or even used, phrases like “life is too short” or “you only have one life to live, make it count.” These phrases can induce procrastination as they create a sense of urgency. And the urgency of these harmless words can result in anxiety and stall you from taking action.
But what if you changed your cognitive understanding of them? Life IS short. And you deserve to experience joy and happiness.
Every day that ends with you feeling like you let another one slip by is another day you live with the negative feelings. Of knowing that you aren’t living a fully engaged life…that you won’t reach your potential if you don’t make a change.
This doesn’t have to be an anxiety-inducing thought. You can have a fulfilling life…the life you dream of – free of guilt and shame.
End the self-defeating cycle!
I’ve created a system for challenging these negative thoughts that lead to procrastination. To help you set and achieve goals to get un-stuck.
Your Ideal Week is a calendar that lets you track your actual activities and compare them to your ideal activities. Your ideal activities are the things that propel you forward and bring you closer to living a fully engaged life.
It’s time to move past the mediocrity of procrastination and start crushing your goals.