I don't know about you, but I am not perfect. I sometimes suffer from failing to do what needs to be done. "I’ll do this later", "I can do that tomorrow", "there's no rush", that kind of thing. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow; am I right?
Does this ring a bell for you?
This nasty little habit is called procrastination.
Procrastination is when you avoid doing something right now, even though you KNOW you should do it now, because of its urgency, or just because it has to be done.
I prefer another term for it: delaying tactics. Because that is really what it is, a tactic to delay doing something.
But, put simply, what it really boils down to is simply this: excuses.
We all have something, whether it’s filling in our tax form, seeing the doctor or the dentist, calling relatives, decluttering or cleaning the oven, that we try to avoid doing. For me, my procrastination is towards paperwork. I don’t like paperwork. For me, it’s such a drag.
So what do we do?
We avoid doing that 'thing' because it is going to be painful in a way; it’s going to take time, we don’t like doing it, we need to get supplies for it or it involves contacting people. There may even be some fear attached to it, usually unwarranted, but nevertheless there.
Logic and common sense say that we might as well do this task now and get rid of it, rather than have it hanging over us like the sword of Damocles. What happens is that, when this task is delayed, we have this little niggle at the back of our head, these little words "it needs to be done" keep being repeated ad nauseam in our mind, like a little critter perched on our shoulder. This little critter is there for a reason, which we choose to ignore. The result of giving into this procrastination is that the inertia and the fear get bigger and bigger in our minds. It's a downward spiral.
You can probably relate.
You think that, by ignoring it, you're going to feel better: it won't spoil your day. Even worse, you know that the satisfaction you get by this avoidance is only ephemeral and that you will have to do 'it' some day...just not today.
You know that you can’t be totally happy until that thing is done.
You know that you have to do it one way or another, one day or another.
You already know that you will feel much better once that task is done.
But, still you procrastinate…
We tend to ignore the plain fact that the most painful thing is the way we, well... prolong our pain. The pain of avoidance, the pain we feel about thinking about this task and how painful it is doing it. Yet, we choose to ignore the relief we know we will feel, once the task is done.
By procrastinating, we prefer short term relief and prolonged pain over short term pain and prolonged relief. We usually delay the task and have that pain for far longer than the task will take! We may even realise that things we avoid doing are never actually quite as bad as we have built them up to be in our minds. Yet we still avoid doing them. How silly is this?
What can you do?
If you suffer from these delaying tactics, procrastination or excuses, there is only one thing you can do (and you already know what it is):
Yes, do that task now!
Not in 5 minutes time, because that is still procrastinating, right?
Do it this second. Get up and do it. Now. Immediately!
Now that it is done, don't you feel better and relieved?
You don't have to thank me. Thank you!
Once you get the action habit, you'll find that you start to get a sense of relief as soon as you start to undertake the task. You'll start looking forward to finding things that you don't want to do but need to! Although I am still not quite there with paperwork, I do appreciate having niggling tasks done and out of my hair.
What is YOUR main procrastination about? Please let us know in the comments below.
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