You know what procrastination is, you just don't know you know!
Procrastination is one of those words which you hear once, twice, maybe even three times, and you understand its meaning immediately, but then you completely forget what it was. So the next time you hear it, you need to repeat the process of learning. Frankly, it took me a few years to finally hammer the meaning of procrastination into my head, and I’m a pretty intelligent human being. So I’ll try to explain it so vividly that you’ll remember the meaning once and for always.
It is possible that everyone on the planet has procratinated on something, and since you’re here, you’re probably no different (there goes that dream of you being unique and like no one else :D). Let’s see – do you ever :
- Put things off for “tomorrow” (oh yes, that tomorrow is not our usual tomorrow that comes after today:D)
- Start things, but don’t finish them
- Get distracted while doing a task and then struggle getting back to it
- Say you need to do something, but never get to it, only to realize a few weeks/months later it is still not done
- Plan to do something, but then let life get in the way?
Procrastination is putting things off, postponing them.Interestingly, often times it is confused with lazine
I also consider it a buzzword. It seems it really emerged after the year 2000. Thouth to be perfectly fair, its first mention in the English language dates back to 1588. Who knew! I think before that, people used to call it laziness. For example I cannot imagine anyone in the 60’s, let’s say one of the Beatles – Paul McCartney, saying: “John, stop procrastinating and get to work!”. They would say: “John, get your lazy ass here!”. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
This brings me to another point, which is crucial for you to understand if you want to stop procrastinating.
Procrastination is not laziness
Procrastination is not laziness. Laziness has many negative connotations and overcoming laziness often seems impossible, because there is little will to do so. What do you think when you hear that someone is lazy?
To me it seems they are making a choice not to do much. Plus, it is a very general statement – to say someone is lazy means to put them in a “Lazy” box in all areas of life, implying that it will be a huge effort for them to stop being lazy. It’s just a very heavy word.
Procrastination, on the other hand, has little to do with choice, but a lot to do with thoughts and emotions. Eespecially when it comes to procrastinating about something that’s meaningful and important (NOT ironing your shirts, but introducing a new marketing strategy, creating a course, reaching out to prospects etc.) – that’s when your emotions and beliefs make you “lazy”. But you’re not.
Rather, I see procrastination as a sign that something inside you is saying NO to performing the task at hand. Finding out WHY is the easiest, non-invasive, natural way of dealing with procrastination.
- You can find an exercise on that in my free 5-step guide to beating procrastination on your next move.
Why do we procrastinate?
Remember, there’s always a reason for your procrastination. And that’s good. Why? Because it gives you an OPPORTUNITY to face that reason and eliminate it (fetchew!).
A few common reasons for postponing things:
- Fear of failure (“What if it doesn’t work?”)
- Fear of success (“What if I get so many clients I can’t handle them?”)
- Low self-confidence (“It’s too hard…”, “What’s the point…”)
- Limiting beliefs (“This will never work!”)
- Imposter syndrome (“I’m not good enough to do this”)
- A belief that something is a waste of time (“This is boring!”)
- Lack of motivation (“I don’t feel like it”)
How it works
I became a “master procrastinator” (it’s not as good as it sounds:)) when I was in a toxic relationship. I started postponing even the smallest tasks (laundry, fixing a latch) to an undefined “some day” as a habit that I learned from my ex-partner. He was constantly putting “everything” off, so it was easier for me to “accept” it and procrastinate as well than to keep constantly fighting with him. It took a lot of hard work to get me out of that habit. The reason for me developing it was a drop in my self-confidence (from being in a toxic relationship). His reason for putting things off, as I later concluded, were feelings of not being good enough. In turn, my procrastination was also making me feel bad about myself, and it caused another dip in my self-esteem.
This brings me to my last point – the effects procrastination.
The effects of procrastination
One of the ugliest things about procrastination is that it can be vicious. When you procrastinate, you think less of yourself. You blame yourself, feel guilty, think you’re lazy and not good enough. You lose respect for yourself. It can be very subtle, but it takes a toll. Because those thoughts and feelings bring you down, take away your energy and that in turn makes you procrastinate more.
And our incredible brain loves to be right. It wants to be right at all times, so once you develop this idea that you procrastinate, it will be looking for furter proof of this new truth – making you postpone more and more things, until there is an invisible huge pile of “the undone” that weighs a ton, even though it doesn’t really exist.
So my advice is, stop procrastinating in the early phase, or best – don’t start at all.
Having said that, I came out from a phase of procrastinating on the tiniest things, to being energetic, motivated productive and consistent every day with my online coaching business, and I have an exact process for beating procrastination. You can start using it today to finish that thing you’ve been putting off: