Procrastination is a thing. It’s a big thing. For a lot of people. Not just for lazy, unmotivated, irresponsible people. In fact, in my experience as a therapist and working with hundreds of smart, successful, accomplished men and women, procrastination does not discriminate.
And for those of you who have ever researched why people typically procrastinate, you know already that it’s often a by-product of perfectionism (that too is a thing. A big thing. For a lot of people).
If you’ve not heard this before, I’ll explain briefly before I continue.
Perfectionism and procrastination. Perfectionists need things to be, well… perfect. And they really truly and deeply fear that they won’t be able to produce perfection so they procrastinate.
If I leave this paper, project, or proposal till the last minute and just whip it together, then, if it’s not perfect, I will have an excuse: I just threw it together at the last minute – that’s why it’s not quite up to my standard.
And doing things like that protects this:
If I start days or weeks in advance and put everything I’ve got in to this paper, project or proposal and it is received as sub-par, what’s my excuse? Who can I blame? What’ll happen if I put my all in to something and I don’t get perfect results? It will prove I’m not perfect. And I don’t know if I can live with myself if that is true. So I will procrastinate and save myself from having to face that dreaded realization.
Maybe this resonates with you, and maybe it doesn’t.
And if it doesn’t, and you’re left wanting after that explanation of procrastination, here’s another big reason we procrastinate that you probably haven’t heard of.
Many of us are overworked, under slept, over stressed and under self-cared. But, as humans, we were never meant to exist by pushing ourselves to such an extent in every area. So, like any system that is over stressed and under cared for, rebellion (or breakdown) is likely to ensue.
And in this case, it’s our psyche who is rebelling. It’s saying na uh, no way, not going to happen. You are not going to push me this hard with no reprieve.
So in order to prevent you from treating me this way I am going to compel you to mindlessly surf the internet, scroll Facebook, binge watch Netflix or whatever your procrastination poison is.
And because your psyche is so desperate for a break and so strong in it’s pursuit to get one, you will feel as though you don’t have any control over doing those mindless, time wasting activities.
The key word being, mindless. Meaning your mind is so desperate for a break it will take whatever it can get. Even if it’s useless and time sucking and leaves you feeling frustrated, disappointed, guilty, ashamed and even more stressed because you didn’t get a lick of anything ticked off the list. Day. Wasted.
But what do we do about it? How do we nip this in the bud?
Take better care of yourself. Take time for yourself. Unwind, unplug, get free.
Take some intentional rejuvenation time everyday. Some honest to goodness me time.
A lot of people like to start the day by doing something revitalizing and enjoyable for themselves. Others prefer the evening. Or you can do lunch time. It doesn’t matter when – the point is you do something to take care of that rebellious psyche everyday in order to keep it in check. And then it will feel taken care of and lose it’s desire to rebel.
In essence, I am advising you to deal with procrastination by intentionally being unproductive.
Think of it this way: let’s say you are a manager and you are always pushing your team. Always asking more and more and more from them. You don’t respect them. You don’t look out for them. You don’t even consider them as important.
What do you think will happen? Do you think they will want to work hard, be responsible or even productive? More likely than not, they will produce for you to the extent that you take care of them.
So take care of them. And do the same for yourself.
If you found this valuable, please share it. And if you do, let me know so I can thank you.
I’m Julia Kristina MA, RCC, an I’m a CBT, Mindfulness, and Positive Psychology registered (aka licensed) therapist and life coach out of Vancouver BC.
If you’d like to work with me 1:1 I do in-person sessions from my office in downtown Vancouver, or virtually to any where in the world via SKYPE.
I also blog and give live daily personal growth talks on Periscope.