- Is it another name for laziness?
- Procrastination is a long-term condition. It can last for years and stay with a person into the future without end.
- Procrastination involves the cessation of important and even essential activities.
- Many procrastinators complain that they’ve suffered with the condition for years and don’t have any expectations of living any differently.
The Procrastination Cycle
Over an extended period of time, habitual procrastination leads to ever-declining energy levels, which in turn can lead to feelings of depression. If you have any doubt about the relationship between procrastination, energy levels, and depression, ask yourself if you’ve ever heard of a habitual procrastinator who’s been described as a “highly-energetic individual.”
- I had numerous tasks which required my attention, but which I avoided.
- If I were reminded of a task, I became enveloped by anxiety, especially by the tasks I had put off longest.
- My level of anxiety rose steadily as I worried: (a) that I was unable to complete the task; (b) that I was also uncomfortable with the task; (c) that I didn’t have the patience to deal with the task; (d) that I might not “do it” correctly.
- Feeling psychologically paralyzed, physically weak, and utterly helpless about situations that I felt I had no control over, I fell into a state of depression.
- After anywhere from a few of days to a few weeks of this internal confusion and conflict, I reached the point where my self-pity turned into self-anger, and I berated myself for not attempting what I believed I should be able to do.
- Eventually, it seemed almost cruel to continue torturing myself for what seemed like an inborn weakness, and I came to peace with the fact that I was incapable of taking action. I then reasoned that I needed to go easier on myself and instead, to give myself some much-needed tender loving care, like watching television, surfing the Internet, or indulging in comfort foods or mind-altering intoxicants.
- Returning to reality, I eventually rediscovered the task that I had fled from. If I happened to be under a time constraint, then I devised an action plan of sorts.
- Otherwise, I continued to disregard the task and “The Procrastination Cycle” was once again underway.
The Human Ostrich
- When procrastinators feel overwhelmed, they tend to go into self-protection mode, shutting down as overloaded circuit breakers do. However, while circuit breakers re-set at only the push of a switch, people are a bit more complex.
- We’ve been this way for quite a while, and although procrastination is not the best coping method ever invented, it has helped us to avoid some stressful situations for better or worse—unfortunately, it’s usually for the worse.
- Procrastinating makes us feel independent because no one can pin us down and force us to do things we don’t want to.
- Our approach is to hesitate-and-evaluate, instead of facing and embracing those tasks that we perceive of being difficult or unpleasant.
- We’re uncomfortable at the thought of facing disappointment.
- We feel more “in control” when not doing something that could otherwise challenge us, embarrass us, or cause us to feel frightened.
- We abhor those tasks that we perceive as being “boring” or “complicated.”
- We are used to burying our heads in the sand as a response to stress.
How To Overcome Procrastination (In a Nutshell)
*If you want to know the details I would recommend reading the book for advanced techniques and more real-life examples.
- Always Keep the Promises That You Make With Yourself
- Try Not to “Compare and Despair”
- Avoid Giving Yourself Vague or Conflicting Instructions for Accomplishing Tasks
- Respond to Your Tasks in a Logical Way
- The Primary Goal of Accomplishing Your Tasks Is to Increase Your Self-Esteem
- Be Wary of Making Harsh or Inappropriate Self-Statements
- Understand That There Will Be Consequences for Your Inaction
- Remember That Procrastinators Are Great at Finding Excuses
- Learn to Face Your Overwhelming Emotions
- Avoid Being a Perfectionist
- Take the Pressure Off Yourself, by Developing Patience From Within