We all procrastinate from time to time, but if you are an habitual procrastinator, it’s time to take control.
Two types of procrastination
There are two types of procrastinators – those who are aroused by the thrill of the last-minute and those who procrastinate as a form of avoidance.
The arousal type of procrastination is actually a form of eustress; it gives an adrenalin rush and actually can help produce added creativity. It also drives people like me absolutely crazy (but that’s my own issue, not yours.) The other problem with arousal procrastination is that it may lead to sloppy work – not having enough time to check over the results, but for the most part, if you work best under pressure, this type of procrastination is not a big problem.
Habitual avoidance procrastination and it’s cousin creative avoidance (finding other things to do rather than completing the task at hand) causes distress and should be eliminated from your mental diet.
- Procrastination starts with HAVE TO. It occurs any time you do something that is against your will. It is your subconscious mind’s attempt to protect your personal dignity. When you are pushed, your subconscious mind will push back, it will slow you down in an attempt to get you out of the task.
It doesn’t matter if you are being pushed by your own self-talk or an outsider, your subconscious mind will slow you down and cause you to procrastinate.
- It is also triggered by low self-esteem. You may feel anxiety when the goal is bigger than you and your subconscious once again attempts to protect you from pain.
You will procrastinate if your subconscious decides that taking action is more painful than putting it off. Your subconscious may feel unsure about your decision-making ability, so to spare you the pain associated with making the wrong decisions, it decides to do nothing.
- You have reached the pain-pain barrier. Your subconscious mind is designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It evaluates each decision based on this pleasure-pain relationship.
If this is the case, no matter what you do, it will cause pain, therefore you do nothing.
This form of procrastination occurs as a result of resistance to change and fear of the unknown. Resistance to change is as certain as change itself, but your subconscious mind never wants you to leave your comfort zone. In an attempt to protect you, it will procrastinate so that you remain in a familiar place.
- You also procrastinate due to fear. You are not a risk-taker and the action at hand involves a risk.
Nothing is risk-free. Life is risky. There is just as much risk in doing nothing as doing something. Remember that you cannot cling to comfort and go anywhere.
- Sometimes you wait for everyone’s approval before you act. This is due to a lack of confidence in your own decision-making capabilities and an attempt to please everyone.
You will make mistakes. Mistakes are not the end of the world, they are opportunities to learn.
You will also never be able to please everyone. Trying to do so is a waste of energy. You are competent, row you own boat.
Solving the procrastination problem
- Remove “there’s always tomorrow” from your mindset. If it needs to be done, do it now.
- Take control of your time. Don’t allow others to control your schedule. Say NO.
- Set priorities. If the task is important, do it first. Reward yourself for getting it done by doing something that was YOUR IDEA.
- Practice making decisions. Challenge yourself to make at least 1 easy decision and one hard decision every day. Decide on an action and stick to it. Decision-making practice will raise your self-confidence in your abilities to make good choices.
- Develop a confidence in your abilities and give what you think priority over what others think.
- Look at risk as an opportunity for gain.
- Don’t demand perfection, do your best. Lighten up.
- Slam the emotional door on critics. If they don’t have anything positive to say, they aren’t worth listening to.
- Become emotionally excited about what will happen after you accomplish the task.