What Your Procrastination Really Means + 3 Things You Can Do To Get Unstuck
I have been taking refuge at the procrastination station for months. While most of us think of procrastination as "laziness" or lacking "willpower." It goes a bit deeper.⠀
According to research from Dr. Piers Steel, a professor of motivational psychology at the University of Calgary, "Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond."⠀
Procrastination is not a time management problem but rather an emotional regulation problem.⠀
Mind-blown? Yup, me too. Except that I've been seeing it play out all too well these last couple of months. You see, I have been working on some exciting things that I have yet to fully complete or share with you all. Each day I would organize, put it on my to-do list and fail to follow through.⠀
The core of my procrastination? Emotional exhaustion (birthing a creative project is draining) and FEAR that once it was completed I would have to send the vulnerable baby out into the world...a prime target for criticism.⠀
Another to-do list or action plan wasn't going to sort through that. Understanding how this coping mechanism was aiming to keep me safe (yet small) provides a lot more insight and possible ways to cope and work through the problem at the core rather than surface level.⠀
Here’s a bit more insight into the reasons why we procrastinate:
We are emotionally drained
Adaptive mechanism: growing up, uncertainty was common, planning organizing often led to disappointment
It is a way to manage anxiety short-term (while creating more long-term)
We are afraid of finishing a task as it may leave us open to external criticisms
The task is not in alignment with internal wants and needs
We don’t have (or don’t believe we have) the skill set to complete the task
We are afraid of the outcomes, what comes next
Do any of these reasons resonate with you?
I’m going to venture out and guess that’s a “yes.” So, now that we know where it comes from, what do we do about it? Here is my 3-step process for managing procrastination:
Step 1 Acknowledge
When I procrastinate, I accept that I don’t want to do the task.
Maybe the fear of failure is extremely high.
Maybe I had a bad experience doing something similar in the past.
Maybe it's not something I’m really interested in or passionate about. This is a good time to explore and decide if this is even something I want to invest my time on, or another “should” in my life.
Step 2 Timeline
I create a timeline that works for me personally.
How many days do I have to accomplish the task?
What other tasks do I need to accomplish aside from this?
Then I pick a priority and by “priority,” I mean just one task that requires urgent attention.
Step 3 Options
Are there any parts of the task that I am confident doing?
Can I outsource any parts to someone who has the skill set I’m lacking?
Can I ask a friend to help me? Do I know someone who actually enjoys doing it?
Is there another way of doing it? A more practical and more aligned way of doing it?
For example, I have been playing with the idea of having my own Youtube channel.
The benefits of serving more people excite me. However, the thought of speaking on camera makes me nervous.
I’ve delayed this goal for a long time now. So, instead of continuing to procrastinate, I found a happy medium (for the moment) - a podcast where I didn’t have to show my face!
With that said...I've got some big news to share...and the FEAR is real but I've got to put it out there and as Brene Brown would say...step into the arena!⠀
So here it is!
The doors to my brand new program, Breaking the Cycle of Self-Betrayal, are now open!
It's a LIVE 6-week inward journey so you can shift into self-commitment.
Each week, you will receive a live masterclass, workbook, and a Q&A session with me.
Check out all the details here