Have you ever lost focus? Have you ever avoided certain situations or decisions without an obvious reason? Have you ever felt bad about not moving on with a project or a relationship without knowing what exactly stopped you? Have you ever paid late fees because you postponed checking the mail? Have you ever decided to start an exercise program but never made it to the gym? If you answer yes to just one of these questions you are at least a part-time procrastinator. Welcome to the club with an endless number of members who have one thing in common: they all feel frustrated about procrastinating and don’t know how to end the vicious cycle.
Many books have been written on this topic and there are many explanations for what leads people to become procrastinators. Procrastination is not a genetic disease or a substantial part of your personality. It is an attitude or habit that can be changed. There are many causes, such as a lack of self-confidence or a certain degree of fear. The list of possible causes is long. In fact, the list can increase your disappointment in yourself while feeding the inner-critic who lives happily ever after on fear and self-doubt.
I am a procrastinator in certain areas of my life. I simply avoid moving on with certain projects and instead I get lost in stuff that is neither important nor fulfilling. I beat myself up for this behavior, thinking that I should do one thing or another. The “I should do list” is long and, coming to think about it, I wonder if it is even worthwhile to start working through it, anyway. It feels like being lost in a big forest. There are so many trees and I wonder if there is a way out. There is a sense of panic and self-condemnation for having been so stupid to get lost in the first place. It feels awful and a desire to run around in distress, which also does not help solve the dilemma.
Feeling overwhelmed and getting frustrated about the inability to get things going makes the situation worse. This is procrastination at its worst and makes it hard to find an exit out of stagnation. Instead, accepting what is and finding a safe place for yourself (emotionally) can sometimes be a more efficient way out of procrastination. Once we accept what is, we lose our fears, which are the biggest drivers for procrastination. Feature quote next to photo. Once the fear is gone, the roadblock has been lifted and the path is free.
I do not want to underestimate the effects of procrastination, and I am not defending the fact that I keep a pile of mail for a month before I am willing to work through it. Nevertheless I am not doing this totally blindfolded. I am aware of my procrastination and I understand what prevents me from putting off certain projects, preferring instead to clean my bookshelves. This awareness of knowing why I am not doing what I truly want to do keeps me in charge of my life. I hesitate doing certain things because I am not ready yet. Procrastination has become a tool for prioritizing and finding an order of what needs to be done and when.
If you procrastinate while being fully aware and understanding what keeps you from doing certain things, you don’t surrender to your fear, and instead you collect your thoughts and emotions until you are ready to act. Take the time to look into your fears and worries, examine your motives for your passive behavior and don’t feel pushed into action because of what others expect from you. Don’t hesitate – procrastinate, and live life on your own timing. Some people are faster, others are slower in their decisions and their abilities to act or move on with projects. You only need outside help when you realize that fear is paralyzing you and nothing is ever going to happen.
As a coach I have often worked with people on procrastination, and there are many ways to approach this issue. Please let me know if I can help you – a first interview is without charge and can help you to find perspectives.
In the meantime dust your bookshelves if it helps you, and when the time is ready show the world that procrastinating is not always a habitual failure but a tool to find time and direction in a hectic and fast-living world.
Be a woman and act like one.
I offer Business Coaching and Consulting services in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura County. I also work as a Personal Coach and Problem Solving Mentor providing Life Coaching services throughout SLO County. Please contact me; the first consultation is free of charge.
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