And, do I want to stop procrastinating?
How does procrastinating affect your life? Is it how you do everything or only some things? If you procrastinate, what happens? In general, procrastinating lends itself to less than ideal results. So, if the end results is not what we want, what keeps in the cycle of procrastination? I have to ask myself, am I stupid or too lazy to change?
I read this post from Dave Kerpen about turning weaknesses into strengths. What is the strength that is on the other side of procrastinating? If I can’t do it right, I might as well wait until I can, right? So, as procrastinators, we are perfectionists. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? After all, who doesn’t want to be perfect (we will save perfectionism for another day).
So, if procrastinating isn’t so bad, should we try to stop procrastinating? When was the last time you procrastinated and thought the result was perfect? In fact, when was the last time you procrastinated and you were glad you did? If you can’t remember, let’s look at what might be triggering you to procrastinate.
Procrastinating paying a bill is likely something that most people who procrastinate have probably done at least once in their lifetime. What happens right before we decide not to pay the bill on time?
Not enough money to pay the bill? Or, not enough to time to pay it? Or, you just don’t feel like taking the time to pay it? If it is an issue of not having enough money, what can you change so that you get the bills paid on time every month? If it is about time management, have you thought about different ways to get the bills paid which would require less time?
Maybe, neither issue is the trigger and you are just someone who procrastinates because it is how you roll….my guess is there is something you get from procrastinating. It may seem unlikely that there is some “reward” for procrastinating, but if it isn’t one of the first two triggers, the question of what do I get from making things harder on myself, must be asked.
Years ago, I was moving across country and as was my pattern, I was still packing when my ride for the trip came to get me. At some point, I made the connection between my inability to be ready to move and my avoidance of endings and leaving people. Every job I have ever left, I worked longer on the last day than my colleagues because saying good-bye was hard. Not sure if I am better now, but at least I know why I do it to myself.
If you know what triggers the behavior and can live happily with the consequences, than you can relax knowing you procrastinate for a “good” reason.
If on the other hand, you still want to stop procrastinating, take the next step after you have uncovered what is procrastinating distracting you from that you don’t want to address? Back to moving example…now that I know that I am avoiding feeling sad, and I also know that I will still feel sad, but by procrastinating I have added, stressed about being ready, to the list of emotions. That doesn’t sounds like it helps me.
It would surely feel better if I could spend more time with people who I will miss and let them know how much I have enjoyed our time together. Then, my memory of the move wouldn’t be wrapped up in the stress but rather the quality time I spent. And, what about the feeling you get when you do something that has been on your mind and you can cross it off your list?
Have you ever stopped to enjoy the moment when that undone task is complete? If you haven’t enjoyed this moment before, take a minute to acknowledge it to yourself the next time. You might be surprised at how liberating it is.
If you want to stop procrastinating, write a list of things you need to do. Review it and identify anything that has been on your mind to get done for a week or more. For each of the old items, ask yourself, “what is stopping me from taking care of this?” And, when you know the “answer,” check to see if this is really true. If isn’t true, make time in your schedule, to get it done in 24 hours. If it is true, than consider all of the consequences of not getting it done and whether they are worse than the reason that you aren’t doing it. And, finally determine if by not procrastinating, you can create a better outcome.
Taking time to make a list every day and reviewing the priorities and consequences will make a big impact on your productivity and your results. Give it a try and let me know what happens. You could be an inspiration to others!