Procrastination can be a struggle for me sometimes.
Just in the past week I found myself:
- Looking at Pinterest way too much, checking Facebook and email way more than necessary
- Deciding I needed to dye clothes, make soup stock, clean out birdhouses
- Taking a nap even though I’ve gotten plenty of sleep
- Researching (yet again) how to raise backyard chickens
In short, just about anything BUT, engaging in my truly worthy “to do” list of the day,
So, I decided to look up some facts about procrastination and its serious, debilitating, spirit-robbing effect on our lives and relationships.
1. Procrastination flourishes in a culture of excuse making. Procrastinators lie to themselves and others. When people are not held accountable for their behavior by others, procrastination flourishes. You can be “too nice” to the procrastinator in your life by accepting their excuses.
2. Procrastination affects your health. You are more likely to abuse alcohol, other substances, and food. The stress caused by procrastination can compromise your immune system, cause insomnia and gastrointestinal symptoms.
3, Procrastination is NOT a time management problem. No amount of schedule books, timers, etc. will solve the problem. It is a problem of self-management not time management. It is a problem with how you relate to yourself and your life.
Some of the reasons for your procrastination may be unconscious.
4. Procrastination can be a form of unconscious, angry, passive aggressive behavior. People with a pattern of provoking understandable irritation, frustration, and anger in others when they fail to meet deadlines or complete reasonably agreed upon tasks may look like “procrastinators”. The unconscious payoff may actually be a power dynamic or power struggle. Calling it “procrastination” gives this form of anger, resistance and rebellion a more socially acceptable label, but it hides the real dynamic.
5. Procrastination can be a strategy to stay in our comfort zones or to avoid feared criticism or unconscious conflicts. These conflicts may stem from childhood history or trauma. We can also fear expanding into our full talents and a larger, happier identity. Procrastination can be an unconscious attempt to keep things feeling safe and familiar. I know I am on the verge of "upping my ante" and shifting into a more positive transformative / developmental change when I find myself procrastinating. Part of me wants things to stay the same. Part of me doesn't want the responsibility that goes along with a larger, more liberating identity. Enter: more fantasies of backyard chickens. (This form of 'resistance" is wonderfully explored in Steven Pressfield's The War of Art.) This is soul-squashing because....
6. Procrastination robs you of your life. When it prevents you from feeling better about yourself, your day or your accomplishments I call it “passive aggressive behavior against yourself”.
“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do the day after.” - Oscar Wilde
Next week's blog will give some suggestions on how to overcome procrastination, including a cutting-edge energy psychology approach. There will be links to help you deal with the procrastinator in your life. Subscribe to the blog to be sure not to miss it (above right column).