One More Way You Are Sabotaging Your Life: Procrastination

We all procrastinate sometimes, but when it becomes chronic it can sabotage your life.

When I wrote my last post, 11 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Life and How to Stop, I should have known there was one more. As it turns out, writing a post on procrastination is a good thing. Procrastination is complicated and sometimes it can even be a good thing. Hopefully this post will help me with my procrastination.

Read on to discover the 7 ways you procrastinate and learn practical solutions for each one.

What is procrastination?

When you procrastinate, you are putting off tasks to do things that are more fun or are more comfortable for you. You may think there is only one kind of procrastination. There are many causes of procrastination and you need to know the reason you are procrastinating before you can discover a solution. Of course, you may procrastinate about investigating the reason.

This post can help you realize that procrastination may be giving you some valuable insights about your life and how to start living the life you dream about.

Here are reasons you procrastinate and what to do about each one.

1. The task is boring, difficult, or unpleasant.

You need a bit more information on this one to discover a solution. If this is a short term problem, such as reading a boring book for a class, you might just need to set a goal and do it. If this only takes a small amount of your time, say that 10% of your job you hate, again the best solution is to set a goal and get started. In every life, there will be some things you procrastinate about (dusting and filing, in my case).

If the problem is bigger – it is long term or takes a lot of your time – you will need to dig deeper. This may be a sign that something in your life needs to change. Do you need help to do the task? Do you need more training to get a job you will enjoy? You can use procrastination as a motivator to improve your life.

2. You work better under pressure

Some of you use pain as a motivator. You wait until the last minute. You are up at two in the morning finishing that project.

Working under pressure is a motivation style and this can create a lot of stress for you and others. There are other ways to motivate yourself. Focus on the positive. What are the benefits of doing the task? How will doing the task on time help others? How good will you feel when you have completed the task?

3. You are a perfectionist

You can’t start a task unless you know it will be perfect. You never complete tasks because they are never perfect. You are constantly stressed out.

Perfectionism is a recipe for stress. As hard as this may be, you need to learn to press what I call “the good enough button.” Start with something small. You will discover that the world will not end if you are less than perfect.

4. You are overwhelmed by the task

Sometimes the task is too big and you don’t know where to start. You want to start your own business, but you don’t know what to do first. You want to write a book, but you feel paralyzed when you think about it.

Break the task down into smaller steps. It is a good idea to write down the steps. Realize that you won’t have all the steps or all the answers when you start. Decide to take one step each day. What can you do today to get started?

5. You are too disorganized

You can’t find what you need. You don’t have a place to work. Everything is a mess.

Being disorganized can be part of your personality or a sign of something deeper. Maybe your thinking is disorganized. Maybe you don’t feel good enough about yourself to get organized. Maybe you have too much on your plate to take the time to be organized.

Whatever the reason, getting organized can help you. Set a goal to get organized. Enlist someone to help you. Being organized can help you complete tasks and feel better about yourself.

6. You don’t have what you need

Sometimes you don’t realize that you don’t have adequate instructions, enough training, or the resources you need. So, you just stop.

If this is the case, you need to ask some questions or get the resources you need.

7. Procrastination is your intuition talking to you

Your intuition may be telling you that this project is not right for you or there is a problem. In this case, procrastination helps you avoid trouble down the road. Whenever I am procrastinating about releasing a blog post or letter, I double check my writing. I usually find a mistake and I am glad that I procrastinated. I only wished this worked 100% of the time.

What to do if these practical tips don’t work

You may have emotions and beliefs from childhood that are causing you to procrastinate. If this is chronic, you can completely sabotage your life.

Letting go of the past is the answer. The poetry of emotion process can help.

To read more click “Are you new to the site?”.

One final note, I need to thank Alan Samry (Stump the Librarian), a fellow member of Gulf Coast Bloggers, for the reminder about procrastination.
(image: Stuart Richards @ Flickr)

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