Have you ever found yourself making plans to do things and not following through? Or tell someone you will do something and put it off… endlessly? Procrastination tends to have a negative feeling. The definition: “Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite its negative consequences.”  

I think that everyone has put something off at one time or another. Many struggle with avoidance, delaying and procrastination on issues that matter to us and to others in our lives. I feel that we all have experienced the great feelings that we have when we accomplish a task, which leads me to the question of WHY do we procrastinate? What is going on inside our thoughts that creates the avoidance of the things we know we should be doing?  

Studies show procrastination reflects struggles with self-control. When we put things off it also creates a downward spiral of negative emotions that squash future efforts. Perfectionists are often procrastinators as it is psychologically more acceptable to shrug off the task than fail.  Justifications always come into play, as well as self-deception to some degree.  

When you set goals, you are actually setting them for your “future self”. This could be like learning Spanish, weight loss, or cleaning out the garage. The brain sees value in long term benefits with rewards. However, when the time comes to doing the task, you are then in the present moment, where research has discovered that the Present Self enjoys instant gratification, not long term rewards. (Like having that donut or ice cream)  

Let’s face it, there is always going to be times that things need to be done whether we are feeling motivated or not. There are several categories of procrastinators with about 20% of people who are Chronic Procrastinators. For these folks the behavior affects all aspects of their lives. There are also several types; thrill seekers, arousal types, and the wait until the last minute to get the ‘rush’.  

Another type is people who put off tasks due to fear of failure or success. This mostly has to do with their concern of what others think about them. There are also people who have a difficult time making decisions. Not making a decision allows them to feel they do not have responsibility for the outcome of an event. There can be huge health prices to pay when it comes to procrastination that may lead to insomnia, immune system and gastrointestinal issues as well as negatively effecting personal relationships and team work on the job.

The problem is not usually about Doing the work, its more about Starting the work. Most find that after starting the work that the “pain” subsides. Being in the middle of procrastination is often MORE painful than being in the middle of the work itself. The guilt and shame that can be associated with procrastinating is usually much worse than the energy you put into the action itself. As you focus on those “New Year’s Goals and Resolutions” for 2019 it’s important to note down the Actions we intend to take and not only the broader goals. There is a HUGE difference between TRYING and DOING. One does not ‘try’ to get fit or quit a bad habit. One takes the ACTIONS that will accomplish the goal itself. 

There are few things you can do to help yourself with procrastination.  

ONE: Reward yourself. Build up the temptation!  

Two: Make your tasks more achievable.  

Three: Make the price of procrastination more immediate.  

Four: Do what you don’t like and do it first.  

Five: Stop multitasking. Whatever your procrastination issues are, getting started is the most important thing. When you start your project the night before, it will be easier to continue the project in the morning. Mastery is about focus and consistency.  

Just get STARTED, and you will feel more empowered and free from burdens as you complete your tasks, as well as creating better relationship with not only yourself, but also friends, work associates and loved ones alike.  

Create your happiness! How will you choose? For questions or comments contact Cat Morgan: INJOY!