We have been putting off writing this newsletter. Okay, that is supposed to be a joke and there are plenty of procrastination jokes out there just like this one. Did you hear about the procrastinators club that never met? Or about the author who planned a book on procrastination but never wrote it?
For those who routinely procrastinate, the jokes are not funny. People who habitually dawdle, tend to be very self-critical. When we coach individuals who describe themselves as procrastinators, they often report various internal persecuting self-talk, such as:
- “I don’t know how to do it.”
- “I don’t know where to start.”
- “There’s no reason to try because I won’t get what I want anyway.”
- “Coming up with excuses is easier than facing my fear of failure.”
With internal conversations like that, it is easy to see how getting past procrastination can be so challenging.
This is a great example of how the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ can operate inside of yourself.
When you procrastinate, your self-criticism and anxiety increase. In order to soothe your anxiety about not doing it right – or whatever you tell yourself – distractions such as Facebook, YouTube, online games, hours in front of the TV or eating can temporarily relieve your angst. With more distractions available today, it is no wonder that many people say that they feel like a Victim of their own procrastination.
When you get nervous about a situation and allow that anxiety to stop you, procrastination may be your reactive strategy or behavior. This is akin to the avoiding characteristic that is part of the Victim mentality. Learning to reframe and hold your focus toward what you want will help shift your inner state toward passion and give you energy for action.
The key here is to give up knowing exactly how everything is going to turn out. Needing to have all the answers, or understanding all the steps to complete a project, before you start, will work against you.
We all have a wide range of emotions, both positive and negative. By shifting your focus from the problem of not getting something done, toward what you really want, a more positive inner state will arise.
Another strategy to address procrastination is to forgive yourself for putting off what you say you want. If you continually persecute yourself for what you didn’t do, you will never have energy for what you really do want.
We can be our own worst Persecutors, relentlessly consuming ourselves with negativity and demeaning self-talk. Catch yourself when that voice arises and switch your focus toward what you most care about. You will immediately feel a shift in your inner state. Even if it’s a slight shift you will be on a new path. That new energy will allow you to get past the procrastination and take just one Baby Step toward what you most care about.
And that’s the magic of Baby Steps we have written about before. Just taking one step, and seeing how it goes, will get you into motion and out of the frozen energy of procrastination.
Take just one step….and it doesn’t matter how small that one step is. Taking a step transforms procrastination into creative action.