What It’s Trying to Tell You
As I write this, my fingers are stuck. They are somewhere between typing out this sentence and wanting to do something else. Check my email. Log in to Facebook. Click on the latest news story. Get a snack. Take a nap.
You get the picture. I’m procrastinating.
We all do it, push aside tasks that we know need to be done in favor of something else, whether it’s laundry, straightening out the loose pile of papers on our desk, finally getting around to scrubbing that coffee stain off a countertop, eating, connecting with a friend on social media, etc. etc.
Sometimes our procrastination has merit because something else pressing has come up. A doctor’s appointment, a sick child, an emergency phone call from work.
But other times, we know that’s not the case.
And then the guilt comes.
For all the work we didn’t do. For all the hours we wasted. For everyone we might be letting down.
But maybe…just maybe….we should pay attention to what our procrastination is telling us. Maybe it’s not about being lazy, unfocused, or unproductive.
Maybe something else is going on.
What could that be? Here are four possibilities:
1. You don’t have a project or plan that you believe in
When you can’t get yourself to focus on a project, you may be unconsciously hitting the pause button on it for a reason. Perhaps the plan needs to be modified, radically changed or even discarded.
In this case, your procrastination isn’t indicating a lack of personal commitment. Rather, it’s a sign that it’s time to take a step back, rethink your project, and consider other options before proceeding further.
2. You know you aren’t prepared
We all have tasks that we’re passionate about and excited about pursuing. Yet we still stall.
In this case, you may be procrastinating because, on some level, you know that you don’t yet have the skills or resources to succeed or you aren’t prepared to follow through at this point in your life.
No matter how much you want something, if you know you’re not prepared or aren’t at the right point in your life, then you may be biding time until you feel more ready. Perhaps after that class you’re taking, or when your kids go to school, or when you’ve finally settled into that new town.
Procrastination may very well be you – at a deeper level – trying to best set yourself up for success.
3. You don’t want yourself or believe you can’t succeed
There are times when we procrastinate even though everything is in place. The plan is good. You are prepared, and you’re at a point when you can follow through. It appears that nothing is in your way.
Nothing, that is, except you.
There is a myriad of reasons why you may be harboring feelings that you aren’t good enough or don’t deserve success. Procrastination is a way that we give our toxic beliefs power. If you sense this is the reason for procrastinating, then talking to a coach or therapist to work through these issues is a first step in moving forward.
4. You fear the consequences
All life changes carry an element of the unknown. Entering into a new relationship, beginning a job, changing careers, moving, starting a new diet or fitness program, or even just taking a class. All of these carry some risk.
Will my money invested be returned? Is this career the right one for me? How do I know that this relationship won’t end in hurt? Can I trust that my time spent on this diet plan or fitness membership will pay off?
It’s no surprise, then, that we stall. Our procrastination becomes our protection. After all, if we never start that program or class or relationship, we never have to face the consequences.
But, of course, if we give in, then we’ll also never face the joy of experiencing something new, meeting the love of our life, finding a job that finally suits us, getting just that wee bit closer to success.
So while we often think of procrastination as a personal failing, try to consider an alternative explanation. Your procrastination may be trying to tell you something.
Tune in and listen. What you find might just surprise you.
Stuck procrastinating? If you’ve tried to figure out the root of your procrastination and are still at a loss, contact me. We can work through what might be the cause and take steps to get you moving forward on the right track.