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. 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 Persecuting self-talk that goes like this:
“I don’t know how to do it.”
“I am not smart enough.”
“There’s no reason to try because I won’t get what I want anyway.”
Anxiety about not getting what they want can be the reason why some people who procrastinate continue to put off working toward what they say they want. In order to soothe their anxiety, distractions such as Facebook, YouTube, online games or hours in front of the TV can temporarily relieve their emotional pain. With more distractions available today, it is no wonder that many people say that they feel a Victim of their own procrastination.
For those of us who occasionally procrastinate, it is important to manage our inner emotional state and shepherd our focus toward our highest ideals. In TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™ we refer to the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and behavior as our FISBE. The “F” stands for focus, the IS stands for our Inner State and the BE is our Behavior.
When we get nervous about a situation and allow that anxiety to stop us, procrastination may be our reactive strategy or behavior. Learning to reframe our focus toward our envisioned outcome will shift our inner state toward passion and give us energy for action. We all have a wide range of emotions. By shifting our focus from the problem of not getting something done, toward what we really want, a more positive inner state will arise.
Another strategy to address procrastination is to forgive yourself for putting off what 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. That new energy will allow you to get past the procrastination and take just one Baby Step toward what you most care about.