Procrastination is not new. How often did you put off school homework or leave that assignment until the night before? Maybe this has translated to your adult career. You are preparing a report hours before it is due or holding back on taking action to acquire a personal goal.

Think about today. Have you stopped yourself from achieving a meaningful goal?
What did you do instead, and for how long?

My mother used to say, “always do today what you could do tomorrow.” In my head, I would respond with, “always put off today what you can do tomorrow or next week.” Looking back at that exchange, I wonder if my defiance of being told what to do somehow triggered my art of procrastinating. I can easily be distracted by the sudden urge to clean out a cupboard or watch just one YouTube video, which turns into many. In reality, all I have to do is write an article or plan the next few months of work. These things I enjoy, so why do I procrastinate?

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Procrastination is a stress reliever.

Go over a typical day. How much is mental, emotional and physical energy required to achieve all you have to do? Now bring in your goal, and your mind and emotions go into a frenzy. It demonstrates how human beings become creatures of habit, conditioned to undertake tasks, but when something new presents itself, such as a heart’s desire, all of this becomes difficult. Is it any wonder that procrastination is a way for you to deflect, take time out and recalibrate from the sudden frenzy.

How good does it feel to watch a meaningless video on YouTube or clean out the cupboard that has been full for two years? This is procrastinating on what your heart wants because when you genuinely desire something, you are putting self-belief to the test. Can I achieve this?

Procrastination is not new. How often did you put off school homework or leave that assignment until the night before? Maybe this has translated to your adult career. You are preparing a report hours before it is due or holding back on taking action to acquire a personal goal.

Think about today.
Have you stopped yourself from achieving a meaningful goal?
What did you do instead, and for how long?

Procrastinators- You May Identify with More Than One

The Deep Thinker – “I know this will work but how?” 

The deep thinker is a profoundly introspective individual that takes to heart all possible scenarios. They may have one goal, but that will open a can of worms. They overthink everything and come out with many scenarios that create further thoughts. Too much thinking will prevent or delay the goal from becoming reality. Often the deep thinker will delay progress because they do not know how to obtain the goal. It can be as simple as one piece of the puzzle that is missing and that is often, researching what you want and how it will apply to life.

Tip: Learn about what you want. Research the goal, receive feedback, talk to experts, and create a strategic plan. 

The Perfectionist – “I need to have XYZ in place before achieving my outcome”

Details are at the core of the Perfectionist. They need to feel in control of action and outcome and will take a reasonable time to get there, delaying any achievement because they cannot see the clearing for all the trees. 

Tip: Perfectionists will achieve more if they gather their resources, such as feedback from mentors, and trial what they want before making a big commitment. Let go a little, do something outside of your comfort zone, and break up the day’s routine. The sky is not going to fall in!

Day Dreamers – “I have so many ideas I don’t know which one to implement”

Such is life to be lost in a dream rather than look at reality in this time and space. They often lack the know-how to transform vision into reality.
Daydreamers are often romantics that fear the heart from being hurt. What if my dream doesn’t eventuate?

Tip: Daydreamers would benefit significantly from some assistance with their goals.
If a daydreamer doesn’t want help, then a good starting point would be to write down the ideas and feel them, seeing what truly resonates. Explore the fears around the pathway of attainment and take one step each day to transform the dream into physical reality. 

Eternal Student – “I will add to my wealth of knowledge before beginning my life path”

This motivates the student who uses study to procrastinate from living life.
Often, they need validation of their ability, and a teacher or colleague will provide this rather than a stranger.
The eternal Student loves to be nurtured by knowledge rather than live in a mundane world. Responsibility in the adult world can be a core issue and the overwhelming fear of being seen and judged by others.

Tip: Knowledge is power, but action is the path to freedom. Take note of the skills and knowledge that are acquired. Look at what you have learned and connect with this on a sensory level. What joy does this bring? How would you like to share the knowledge with the world? Connect with a vision for life and how the study can facilitate this vision. Then complete a strategic plan that begins with now and demonstrates the journey forward.

The Worrier – “What if” is the divide between “I can” and “I can’t”

Worriers hold anxiety about nearly everything, and therefore, they need to feel in control. Planning is at the forefront, but sometimes this can falter because what if?

Tip: Take a simple daily habit and change it. It may be changing the time you go to bed to take a different route to work. Please keep it simple and implement this change daily.

Keep a sheet of paper with the headings: Routine, Feeling, Outcome, change of routine, Feeling, Outcome. Note the effect of change.
When feeling comfortable, make a more considerable change. What is happening is reaffirming that change can be positive and not be the what if something terrible happens fear that the Worrier is anticipating. 

Healthy Procrastination

I did say that procrastination can be healthy. Relieving negative stress is healthy; that is stress that can cause ill health, drain the adrenals, and do other not-so-good things to the body and mind. Taking a short time out to watch a video or clean out a cupboard can switch the brain chemistry, resulting in a positive chemical release.

Continual procrastination is masking a severe underlying issue that always stems from fear. My recommendation is to seek help to get to the core of the problem. Knowing the root cause will instigate a clearing of the mind and heart and increase the flow of positive productivity.