Even the most efficient and productive individual will wind up procrastinating eventually. You shouldn’t beat yourself up if this happens from time to time.
Human beings are busier than ever and this means you have a lot to do, and things don’t always go according to plan, so you will have to put off until tomorrow something you had planned on doing today.
The problem occurs when this becomes a regular habit.
Take a moment to collect your thoughts (in a clutter-free, calm environment).
- Do your friends and coworkers frequently comment on your inability to get things done on time, or show up on time?
- Can you look back on years of constant procrastination?
- When you first look at your daily or weekly to-do list, do you begin looking for opportunities to procrastinate?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, your procrastination could be trying to tell you something with a much deeper meaning.
Continual, repetitive, regular procrastination is not healthy. It can lead to mental and physical stress, ruined relationships, destroy you financially and impact you negatively in a number of other harmful ways. So if you can honestly admit to frequent procrastination, you need to take action immediately.
What do you do? The answer lies in the hidden message your continual procrastination is sending to your brain.
What Your Procrastination Really Means
Our actions are often not as transparent as they seem. This is because everything you do is driven by emotions, psychology or instinct. If you touch a hot stove, you don’t have to think about removing your hand. It happens automatically. Your brain understands that the longer you touch that hot surface, more pain and physical damage will be generated.
You snatch your hand away from the painful heat without a thought.
Sometimes though, the things you do are emotionally and psychologically motivated. Something deep down inside you leads to consistent procrastination because of something you feel or think, consciously or unconsciously. Someone who suffers from low self-esteem may put off asking for a better job or a pay raise for years.
They have developed, rightly or not, the idea that they are only worth so much financially. This could arise from some deep-seated emotional or psychological issue. Something has caused that person to feel they are not worthy of being happy and earning a good living. So they unconsciously procrastinate in their job duties, never ask for the pay they deserve, and end up struggling financially.
This causes that person constant stress and anxiety over being able to pay the bills and make a living. This is the result they have been looking for unconsciously, which justifies their feelings of low self-worth and inability. Procrastination at work becomes a character trait, creating a vicious cycle of low self-esteem, poor work habits and mental justification that they are getting what they deserve.
This is just one extreme example of what your procrastination is really trying to tell you.
Look at the things which cause you to put off important tasks, duties, events and responsibilities. Usually you can find a common thread among your delaying habits. Do you find it hard to put down your phone in a public setting while hanging out with your friends? Maybe you don’t value your friends the way you should, or you subconsciously wish you had a new set of friends.
Have you put off asking your partner to marry you for years? You keep telling yourself that your finances aren’t right, you want the wedding to be perfect, or there are some other exterior factors delaying the marriage. Perhaps the real reason behind your continued procrastination is fear of commitment.
If you constantly put off getting your work done on time, you may tell yourself it’s because you are extremely busy. Look a little deeper. Be honest with yourself. It could be that you don’t enjoy your job, your talents are ill-suited for the work that you do, or you long to be doing something else.
Whether you do or don’t perform any type of action, you have made a decision.
Often times that decision does not have a transparent motive. Think about the real reasons for your procrastinating behavior, and your seemingly meaningless delaying tactics could reveal an amazing opportunity for some incredible personal growth.
To Your Success…