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Dealing with Procrastination

These past two years have held many ups and downs for me. Procrastination over this time frame has been my not-so-wonderful companion. This has been an eye-opening journey as a personal coach, who helps others to move through their procrastination. This journey has made me explore what procrastination is and find solutions to move through it. In this blog, I will share with you what I have learned.

Definition of Procrastination:

Trouble persuading yourself to do things you should do or would like to do instead of working on important or meaningful tasks.

Procrastination vs Laziness:

Procrastination to some people may look like “just being lazy” when it is quite different.

Laziness paints a picture of someone being apathetic, inactive, and having the unwillingness to act. Procrastination is an active process of choosing more enjoyable or easier activities, such as watching tv, or visiting with friends, than completing the task you should be doing. In the process of ignoring/avoiding what we see as an unpleasant task, over time our emotional selves may begin to feel a sense of guilt or shame which leads to reduced productivity, disillusionment with our work, or even depression.

Types of Procrastination:

Research on procrastination shows that there are many types of procrastination. I have included a few types of procrastination as follows:

· Perfectionism-setting unrealistic goals or expectations resulting in a fear of failure and a sense of “I won’t be able to do the task well enough” so I will put it off and wait for the perfect time to do it right, alas the “right time” never comes. This thinking process creates an all-or-nothing approach.

· Fear of failure-an intense worry, that is internalized as a reflection of self-worth. This thinking process causes an individual to avoid situations and prevents them from achieving their goals.

· Fear of criticism-the belief that your words, habits, actions, feelings, or thoughts are inferior in some way.

· Avoidance-a default defense mechanism to protect an individual from unpleasant or stressful tasks.

· Low self-esteem-bad feelings or lack of confidence in oneself. Feeling unloved, awkward, or incompetent, believing in one’s negative self-talk.

· A tendency to self-defeat/Self Sabotage-destructive behavior that goes against oneself to escape uncomfortable feelings and undermine an individual’s wider goals and values.

· Depression-feelings of sadness, or loss of interest in activities that can decrease one’s ability to function at work or home.

· Trouble focusing/ADHD-difficulty concentrating on a task, not knowing how or where to begin, trouble prioritizing steps to stay on task.

· Waiting until the last minute-a belief that one “performs better under pressure” shrinking the amount of time to complete a task well.

· Decision fatigue-too many available options to choose from, avoiding taking action, fear of making the wrong choice, it is easier to put things off until a later time.

· A lack of energy-mental and emotional postponing of important tasks, a weighing on the mind and body that results in fatigue.

Although procrastination can relieve the demands that are placed on us by ourselves or others, it can have steep emotional, physical, and practical consequences on our everyday lives.

Finding solutions and tools to help us maneuver the many types of procrastination can make the difference between being successful in overcoming this habit. In part 2 of Dealing with Procrastination, we will explore some of the solutions and tools which allow us to power through our type of procrastination.



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