Procrastinators are in the habit of doing more enjoyable, less urgent tasks instead of more urgent, less pleasurable tasks even though they feel very anxious about it.
20% of adults and 70% of college students procrastinate over a range of areas including: studies, housework, health, wealth building, family, relationships and making decisions.
People who procrastinate choose instead to socialize, do less demanding or tasks involving more fun, seek distractions such as sleeping or eating or practice daydreaming. They tend to form rigid and unhelpful assumptions such as “I should, must, shouldn’t, won’t, haven’t” etc.
Procrastination may occur for any of the following reasons:
1. Need to be in control
2. Fear of failure or disapproval.
3. Fear of uncertainty or catastrophe or fear of success
4. Lack of self-confidence
5. Pleasure seeking
6. Poor resiliency
7. Unable to seek support when needed due to the belief that doing so would indicate laziness, lack of ambition and low willpower.
Positive consequences of procrastinating:
1. Relieve discomfort of fear, anxiety etc.
2. Remain in control of the situation.
3. Able to seek pleasure
4. Avoid failure and judgement
5. Maintain certainty as nothing has changed.
6. Self image intact.
7. Energy levels intact.
Negative consequences of procrastinating:
1. Feel ashamed, guilty and self-critical.
2. Don’t learn to challenge your rules and assumptions about learning from others and being apart of society.
3. Don’t learn to tolerate boredom and frustration.
4. Don’t learn to tolerate uncertainty.
5. Don’t find out more about your strengths and weaknesses.
6. Don’t take the opportunity to enhance your resilience and raise your energy levels.
7. Loss of productivity, tasks pile up and this depletes energy further.
8. Some sort of punishment or loss.
Way to overcome procrastination:
1. Recognize that life is for learning and is designed to test us, so things won’t go our way all the time.
2. Awareness that short time pain and long-term gain may be needed.
3. Decide to things imperfectly rather than not at all.
4. Uncertainty and unpredictability are part of life and the learning curve, so allow for some flexibility.
5. Push through the low energy and frustrating times with no judgement and ride the discomfort.
6. Use a strong work ethic to complete a task, serve others and be fulfilled.
7. Reward yourself for task completion
8. Tolerate discomfort by reminding yourself that growth occurs when you move outside your comfort zone.
9. Using low energy levels about task to get started.
10. Focus on those tasks and goals that are important to you.
11. Get started on the task at hand!
12. Choose the prime time for you for working on tasks.
13. Prioritize tasks and do them one step at a time or in chunks.
14. Write yourself a “To Do List”.
15. Visualize daily completion of tasks.
16. Be accountable to a trusted friend to ensure completion of tasks.
17. Set a time limit for tasks.
18. Energize yourself first with an enjoyable task.
19. Develop assertiveness and self-discipline by focusing on tasks to be completed.
Procrastination is a habit that can occur for a number of reasons and with persistence and desire can be overcome. The rewards will be a more enjoyable life!
About the Author
Gaye O’Brien is a Life, Business & Executive Coach, NLP Trainer, Time Line Therapist, Hypnotherapist and International Best Selling Author of “NLP Essentials for Teachers”. As a catalyst for transformational change Gaye shares her insights in an inspirational, educational and entertaining way, with businesses and individuals who desire to make their greatest contribution to the planet and co-create a more enlightened world.