Ah! The “P” word! What is it?
Edward Young said, it is the thief of time! And I’ve also heard it is the thief of dreams!
We’ve all heard of it… how many of us actually practice it? According to the Centre for Clinical Interventions, everyone does! I guess it’s important then that we know what it is!
How Procrastination Works
- Putting things off, postponing things. Instead of doing what needs our attention, we put it off and do something less important. We say things like, “I’ll do it tomorrow”… Remember Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind?
After all TOMORROW is another day!!!
Getting back to my point… We don’t do it tomorrow! And then we find we have to run around in a mad panic because we have visitors coming and we never did get to clean that bathroom!
“…making a decision for no valid reason to delay or not complete a task or goal you’ve committed to, and instead doing something of lesser importance, despite there being negative consequences to not following through on the original task or goal.”*
- It affects every area of our lives: our health, our home, our family, our finances, work, goals and dreams, relationships, and the BIG one… MAKING DECISIONS!
- We do something else instead of the very thing that needs our attention NOW. We distract ourselves with mundane stuff, with excessive TV viewing, shopping, eating, Facebook, computer games (I’ve done that one!)… in fact I’ve done them all that’s why I know this!
- We make excuses for why we don’t do what we know we need to do. Our excuses make us feel justified for not doing something we don’t really want to do. Our excuses sound like, “I’m too tired” or, “I’m not in the mood for this”.
Why do we Procrastinate?
The simple answer is because we don’t want to do it! When we recognise this we need to ask ourselves the question, “Why don’t I want to do this thing?” Maybe there’s a memory attached to it, that brings with it feelings of discomfort, anxiety, anger, or resentment? The distractions then become our strategies to avoid the discomfort and resentment.
There is a positive side to procrastination. We feel good pottering around doing bits and pieces of things that are not really that important for now. I would clean out my card making space. It didn’t really need doing, but it’s a distraction from doing a more taxing task, like… let me think… housework!! We feel relief that we didn’t face the thing that causes us some discomfort. And we feel some degree of pleasure from some of those activities mentioned above, albeit, short-lived.
There’s also a negative side to procrastination, and that is that we end up with lots of things not done, or half done. We don’t feel good about ourselves because we had made a commitment to do something and we didn’t do it. We feel we not only let ourselves down, but our families as well. And a cycle has begun. The things we didn’t do, will still be there tomorrow, but the task is now bigger, and we now also experience feelings of overwhelm and we don’t know where to start, and so procrastination keeps going.