“You may delay, but time will not.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Procrastination is the act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, procrastination is defined as unnecessarily postponing decisions or actions, often because it is unpleasant or boring. Sound familiar? This could be attributed to having low confidence or expecting unpleasant results.
What does procrastination look like?
Maybe it could be scrolling mindlessly through your social media feed instead of getting stuck into drafting the work presentation due by the end of the week, not making that call to a colleague / friend / family member to avoid conflict, or putting off scheduled activities for those that are easier, more pleasant and evoke a sense of achievement.
I feel like that was all me, does it also resonate with you? What are you putting off tomorrow that you could perhaps get stuck into today?
Is procrastination bad for me? The negative effects of procrastination can vary from simply missing a deadline on an important task to something more long-term, such as a missed opportunity that puts an end to a dream. Some of us might be lucky enough to identify our tendency to procrastinate in time and still do something about it.
For others, it can have long-lasting effects that resonate throughout their lives. Sadly I was the latter. The reason we procrastinate varies from person to person and is not always obvious. Sometimes, it is a hidden fear that we don’t want to acknowledge, or it could even be as simple as not wanting to do something because it just doesn’t motivate us
For the most part, I put off what I deemed as too hard, too scary, anything really that took me out of my comfort zone and left me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and scared. All the while a part of me wanting to take the leap of faith, with fear being my biggest obstacle.
Fear of getting it wrong, being judged, getting into trouble or criticised and ridiculed. Procrastination has cost me enjoying a loving relationship with a partner, being a mum, and living as my authentic self. Pretty sad hey? It has also more recently looked like me having tantrums when trying to install wooden garden edging, and I mean like good old fashioned toddler tantrums lol… Frustrated at the clay soil, concrete footings and hidden root systems all contributed to me going from being optimistic “I can totally do this!” to “bloody hell this is too hard for me” (well and truly taking me out of my comfort zone).
8 common effects of procrastination:
- Losing time
- Missing opportunities
- Not meeting goals
- Damaging your self esteem
- Making poor decisions
- Impacting your career
- Risking your health
- Stress and Anxiety
So, instead of letting procrastination take hold, take some time to develop time management techniques to help you deal with it when it appears. Maybe scheduling events, tasks and activities in your calendar, segmenting out what you need to do, so you complete small chunks of it at a time, thus developing confidence in your abilities.
Is it all bad?
There are benefits to deferring action in certain situations. The defining factor is the root cause for the inactivity. If there is a compelling underlying reason for the delay, then maybe a more accurate label is needed instead of naming it as procrastination. More importantly that you detach any judgement about yourself from your reason and that you are satisfied with it.
What does this look like?
- Something doesn’t quite feel right – you know that niggly feeling in your gut that is telling you no!! Trust in it and take the time to understand your concerns and devise ways to alleviate them
- Some planned inactivity is needed for creativity – gift yourself time to get your creative juices flowing and most importantly rest and rejuvenate!
- You are risk assessing the problem, resulting in the careful analysis of the problem and consideration of various solutions
- You don’t have time for the task – consider if the task is properly matched with your strengths? Review your priorities and consider the importance of the task
- You work best under pressure – for some this is absolutely true, for others it’s an excuse. A maturation period, may highlight that a shift in thinking may be needed when you are, in fact, running on empty or working through the night.
So where are you sitting in terms of the procrastination scale?
Please don’t judge yourself, instead take some time to sit back with a cuppa and reflect on what you do, how, when, where might this vary and why.
Consider your thoughts and feelings around this, with curiosity and intrigue.
Why we do what we do is incredibly fascinating to discover, and this includes you!
Relish in the magic of you and the opportunity to learn more about your inner self and who you want to become.
I wish you peace, calm, insight and intention in your everyday.