“Procrastination is my biggest fault.”
My community, clients, and friends tell me this constantly. My heart breaks each time.
In today's article, I will take a closer look at procrastination. It’s the most common thief of people pursuing their dreams. It’s a success killer.
Our definitions of procrastination often differ. Let's explore a few for a minute:
“The act of voluntary voluntarily postponing something, despite knowing that it'll have negative consequences.”Wikipedia
“Allowing my doubt and fear to win at least momentarily.” Bethany Clemson
“A delay or postponement to press pause for a moment to process.” Tollisha Joseph
“The act of deferring action. On something when taking earlier action would arguably have been a better decision.” Damon Zahariades
“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.” Dr. Tim Pychyl
“Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. So, whether you refer to it as procrastination or akrasia or something else, it is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.” James Clear
I'm sure you're even more confused now that you've read all these definitions.
To clarify, procrastination is NOT laziness. Laziness is the art of doing nothing. Often, when you procrastinate, you are organizing a closet or cleaning out your inbox (this is definitely not doing anything).
Feeling like the above definitions might have left you more confused let’s try giving examples of procrastination:
If you find yourself asking this question, it might help to explore these common classifications of the different types of procrastinators.
Are you afraid to start? Pay close attention to all the minor details? Then this might be your jam.
Do you enjoy making the plan more than executing it? You’re a dreamer, highly creative but have a hard time taking action.
You are a classic avoider if you believe that it's better to do nothing than make a mistake. Someone who is so afraid of failure or being judged, they would rather do nothing.
These are the people who always wait until the last minute. They get an adrenaline high by waiting until the deadline to get something done.
The Busy Bee
Their list is just sooo long they have no idea where to start. They can’t seem to prioritize where to get started.
I dive more into each of these (and some quick fixes) here.
My favorite books on procrastination are:
Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
Not the recommendation you would expect, but finding self-compassion is important when you fall into procrastinating.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
This is where the two-minute rule comes from. If you can get something done in less than two minutes, simply do it.
The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
This book is for writers but the framework of looking at procrastination as a dark force can be applied to any creative.
The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins
Huge Mel fan right here. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must act quickly (or within five seconds) otherwise your brain will start to lean towards procrastination. This technique lets your brain eliminate doubts, fears, and emotions that hinder you from performing
A deep dive into the Mark Twain quote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, if you have a difficult task, it’s best to get it done first.
Wondering if you are a procrastinator or just have poor time management skills? Here are a few things to consider.
How are your planning skills? This includes attention to detail, critical thinking, project management, good communication skills, good organization, thinking ahead, and seeing the bigger picture.
Are you able to prioritize? You have to have clarity on where to focus your time and attention to make progress on your top priority. Check out this post for more.
Finally, are your goals clear? Imagine starting out on a race without knowing where the finish line is. How would you know where to run? In the same way, you must know where you’re headed to set your goals and subtasks.
Still think procrastination is the problem. Let’s move on.
The fact that you are reading this blog post is a sign that you are making a commitment. That is simply being aware that it’s become a problem for you.
This is similar to any change you want to make in life. Before you can make that change, you have to be aware of the reasons why you want to make it in the first place.
Next I would advise you to scroll up a bit and identify what type of procrastinator resonates the most with you. Examine your habits and thoughts that lead to procrastinating.
Bonus points if you write this down.
Yes, you read that right. There can be an upside to putting off that thing we know we should be doing. I had never considered this idea until a colleague listed procrastination as her superpower. So, I did a little research, and here’s what I dug up.
Again, I urge you to read next week’s post on your specific procrastination style but for now, let’s dive into some actionable strategies to overcome procrastination.
I’m looking forward to exploring the pitfalls of procrastination with you in the upcoming weeks. Stop breaking my heart friends. Implement one of the suggestions and let me know how it goes.
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