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How does procrastination show up in YOUR life?
Procrastination shows up in around 60-70% of the population
Procrastination constantly makes me late for appointments
Procrastination means I miss important deadlines
Procrastination stops me finishing any jobs I start
I even procrastinate about what to have for tea
Procrastination makes me leave late and arrive even later
Procrastination causes me to feel rushed all the time
Procrastination creates chaos all around me
Procrastination shows up as clutter in my life
Other people shy away from me and feel uncomfortable around me
Procrastination keeps my energy levels low and I feel tired all the time
Procrastination causes me to fail at everything
Procrastination is ruining my relationship with my family
Procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something more pleasurable, and thus putting off more important tasks to a later time. Procrastination may result in stress, anxiety, a sense of guilt and crisis, a severe loss of personal productivity, as well as social and work disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments. These feelings combined may promote further procrastination.
While it is regarded as normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological disorder. Such procrastinators may have difficulty seeking support due to social stigma and the belief that task-aversion is caused by laziness, low willpower or low ambition.
Procrastinators often feel they are not honouring any commitment to themselves, or others, including family, fellow employees, or the community at large. Procrastination is a 'stuck' issue. One in which there is a lack of passion or joy, and a lack of motivation or drive. This can make you feel lost, undependable, and disconnected from those around you, and those people see you the same way. Does any of this ring true for you?
The act of saying 'I must stop procrastinating', causes you to remain stuck in the cycle of procrastination. Very often there is some underlying fear that is driving the procrastination.
Fear of rejection, fear of dying, fear of embarrassment, fear of not being good enough. Procrastination is just a manifestation of those fears.
For example, you may be studying for an exam and just can't get to your books, or the library and study. You know if you don't study, you will probably fail. But if you do study, and pass, the mark may not be good enough, people may see you as almost but not quite. There is fear of rejection, fear of am I good enough, and a whole bunch of 'what ifs'. The idea that if I don't finish this, or submit the test, or finish the exam, I can't be rejected, is a very strong reason to procrastinate indefinitely.
So the question I will always ask first is; 'What are the payoffs of procrastination?', 'It must serve you in some way'. 'Try to think of how procrastination serves you'. And of course, you're absolutely right, there are payoffs. It gleans a little sympathy or empathy sometimes from other people, but it also puts you in a position of power over others. It's not real power, you understand, it just feels powerful. By arriving late or not at all to a meeting, just says that you are too busy to attend than all the other employees, you must be better than them because you are so busy and therefore more important. To the other employees, of course, you are a pain in the ass, who has kept them all waiting for no better reason than you knicked yourself shaving, or putting on makeup.
You may not set out to do this on purpose, it's not a conscious decision, but it does provide a useful excuse, or reason for being late. And it's this created impression of lack of time to do anything right, that gives the procrastinator the leave to go on procrastinating. How dare anybody say I am lazy, stupid, or not a good worker, see, I don't have the time to do what I'm supposed to do, and that helps to convey the martyr in me. You can criticize the work that I've presented to you, but you can't criticize me, because of all the problems I had putting it together. This is just an example, you understand. All serial procrastinators will have their own regime in place. The issue is to find the driver, the real reason behind the procrastination, and to deal with that.
Exploring your reasons for procrastination will give you some new insights into what is possible for you. The fact is, some people are very comfortable with their procrastination, it has even become a way of life. What would be the advantages of looking at this and addressing the issue? Because it really would make a difference in your life. Procrastination erodes your self-esteem, your self-confidence, your self-worth, which can lead to guilt, shame, anger at not getting things done, or not getting things done on time. This detracts from the focus of your life, it sucks energy, and increases the negativity in your body.
Procrastination is a way of playing the game of life so you don't get hurt; it is not how you play to WIN!. If you can relate to any of this and you have frequent bouts of procrastination, then please use the email address below.