Procrastination is one of those annoying bad habits that affect all of us at one time or another. By delaying any activity or task, you can cause yourself a lot of problems in your life. You could lose your job if you continue to put off workplace duties. You could lose your house if you put off paying your mortgage on time. While procrastination is a difficult thing to overcome, it is one of the worst possible habits. In this article, we will discuss how you can deal with your procrastination and stop procrastinating, by figuring out the real reason behind your procrastination.
Types of Procrastination
There are two types of procrastination. Sometimes the procrastinator is just lazy. Perhaps their parents spoiled and indulged them when they were young and they just can’t bring themselves to do things themselves. We all know someone who falls into this category. Why does anything of substance, if you can find someone else to do it for you? This article is not targeted to these folks. Only a life-threatening situation such as being penniless or homeless will stimulate the lazy person to change. But that is a discussion for another time.
Finding the Reason Behind Procrastination
The rest of us fall into the second category. There is usually a reason for our procrastination. Overall, human beings are pretty intelligent creatures and we don’t put things off unless there is a real reason. The trick is to find out the hidden reason for putting things off and learn how to deal with it. If you are a chronic or occasional procrastinator and you are NOT a lazy person, I would say that there may be a common thread of issues within the tasks you choose to put off. It will help you immensely to identify that common thread! Sometimes the fear of what will happen if we actually proceed with what we have put off for so long. Here are 2 real-life examples to help you better visualize my point
I once had a consultant working for me on a client project who was in charge of writing the training materials for our technical installation. He had assured me during his job interview that he had developed training materials on his last job. On the project, I encouraged him to put the training template together early on and fill in the various training procedures by working with the developers as system functionality was developed. That way, if there were any issues we could resolve them quickly and in an organized matter. Ultimately, avoiding any rush to finish the materials at last-minute.
Days and weeks went by and this consultant continued to put off developing the template. He ignored or sidestepped my requests to review the template until the very end. You know the scenario; I had to have a closed-door meeting with him about his undelivered assignment. He insisted that he would have it ready by“tomorrow”. Tomorrow came and went and I was in the unenviable position of having to put the manual together at the last minute to satisfy our commitment to the client. The result of this was that this consultant was put on probation. During the course of his probation, it came out that he had lied on his resume about his prior position and had no clue how to put together training materials. He felt this assignment would have exposed his lie and hastened the inevitable termination that was coming his way.
Looking back, it was this consultant’s fear of facing his lie and the consequences he would face that was the underlying reason for his procrastination. If he had started on the training materials when I asked (templates were readily available online) and had an open attitude towards learning how to do the task at hand, there were several people, including me, on our team who would have helped him complete the job. He would have then covered his experience gap by learning a valuable skill that his job required and would have been able to stop procrastinating and move forward in his job.
As another example, I recently found myself putting off my regular dental checkup. This had never been a problem for me before and I started to explore the reason by asking myself some very pointed questions. I traced in my mind all the steps that I would go through when going to the dentist and when I got to the part where she started drilling on my teeth, I felt myself cringe. This had never been a problem with other dentists, and I realized that I had only experienced pain with this particular dentist. I realized that it wasn’t the dental checkup but my fear of this particular dentist’s technique was the problem. So, I found another dentist–problem solved!
Take a Good, Hard Look at Why You Are Procrastinating
It’s important to take a look at the underlying reason behind any procrastination in your life, especially to discover its root cause. This is particularly true if you are procrastinating something that you have successfully completed in the past. Is there a person you are trying to avoid? Is there a part of the task that makes you feel bad or uneasy? Does it have to do with being found out? If so, what do you have to do to get past this, apologize or make amends in some way? I promise you, it will be easier to make amends than to live with this feeling of dread in your life and with the consequences of procrastination.
Identifying the root cause of your procrastination will help you to stop procrastinating. Ultimately helping you immensely in your life. Once you identify what has you “stuck” and is causing you to procrastinate, you will probably find that the issue you’ve uncovered is causing you pain in other areas of your life as well. Dealing with that issue will clear up more than one problem for you. This is what I call “holographic”. Your life is multidimensional. A hologram where energy from one area impacts the energy flow in other areas of your life. Stop Procrastinating. Resolve the issue. I gurantee your life will get better.