Procrastination is an age-old issue that has been often reduced to simple laziness, but given our insatiable human curiosity, scientists and researchers have been studying the phenomenon for a long time now, mainly attempting to fix it, and when that didn’t work, trying to understand it.
The thing is, procrastination is a fairly common trait in a lot of people who have issues with anxiety and perfectionism– long before the concepts of anxiety and perfectionism even got their names. Procrastination is actually a self-protective action; it’s a defense mechanism.
- We procrastinate because we’re don’t feel good about the thing we’re supposed to do, so we keep pushing and putting things off.
- We hem and haw. We do other things.
- We do anything else except the thing, because it makes us uncomfortable to even think about it –and for the most part, we don’t even think to delve deeper into why that’s so.
Perhaps these situations seem familiar?
- You can’t decide which task goes first, because all of these things are important and urgent.
- You want to do the best job you can, and you know you only have so much time before the project is due.
- You’re going to disappoint the people counting on you, you know it, and you’re avoiding the blowout for as long as you can.
- You don’t have enough data to make a good decision, and you want to make sure it’s the best one you can make.
- It’s been a while since you received that email, voicemail, message, etc. and you feel it’s embarrassing to only respond now.
And if that wasn’t enough, beating yourself up about putting things off only makes you feel worse. You lose you stomach for taking action, you’re downbeat because you haven’t taken action, and you have no energy to take action.
Oddly enough, procrastinators usually finish with all the easy stuff early. Like cake and frosting, we go for the surface stuff because it’s a sweet deal, so we polish it off quickly. And faced with the things that make us step back, we don’t even think to see that these things aren’t as emotionally neutral for us as the easy things are. Thinking of unfinished, important business things makes us feel tired. We feel ashamed of taking so long to to do or to respond to them.
We dread them. Continue reading Break Procrastination Down By Asking Why