Today we’re going to take a look at what procrastination is, and how it affects your life.
Procrastinate comes from the Latin roots “pro” meaning “for” and “crast,” meaning “tomorrow.” When you’re procrastinating, you’re literally postponing your brilliant responses, accomplishments, celebrations and successes until tomorrow…or the next day…or the day after that.
As you might imagine (and probably have experienced at some level), when we put things off, we disappoint ourselves and sometimes others. This has a profoundly negative impact on your self-image, confidence, and ability for others to trust you.
But as you know, when you finally do get to those things you’ve been putting off, you get a rush of satisfaction and enjoyment. Your confidence gets a boost, and you realize that you can get things done and get them done well. And you’d probably get them done even better if you didn’t have your back up against the wall with deadlines. So knowing that, and experiencing it time and time again, why do we delay doing things, and put added stress on ourselves, only to feel good later?
In the words of singer/songwriter/superstar Dave Matthews, “The future is no place to place your better days.”
Of course, procrastination does more than just erode your self-esteem and diminish other’s trust in you; it actually creates a dangerous split in your mind.
When you procrastinate, you’re always thinking about two things:
What you’re doing now, and what you think you should be doing.
You may be experiencing something like this right now.
Take a moment and notice all the questions and “should’s” that live in your mind.
- “Did I send that email?”
- “I should really finish that project.”
- “Have I cancelled that subscription yet?”
- “I should update my operating system.”
- “Why haven’t I written that book?”
- “I should meditate and exercise more often.”
As you can see, this divided mind that procrastination creates can become overwhelming, and when that’s always going on in the background, it’s hard to get anything done. And the cycle continues.
If there’s any unfinished business that’s taking up your mental real estate right now, go ahead and write it down.
Got a couple things written down? Good! I encourage you to take action on one or two of them this week, You’ll feel much better, I promise.
Alright, now turn to a new page or draw a line under the list you just made.
Procrastination shows up in our lives in a lot of ways. As I list off a few of them, jot down the ones that you’ve noticed recently in your own life.
- Playing video games on your phone
- Scrolling mindlessly on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
- Watching television that doesn’t inspire you
- Watching kitten videos on Youtube
- Napping excessively
- Waking up late every day
- Getting caught up in drama with friends or at work
- Cleaning obsessively
Any of those sound familiar?
In small doses, all of these activities are natural and normal. Sometimes you need to release some stress. Sometimes life just happens, emergencies arise, and you’ve got to put out the fires.
However, you know there’s a problem when you start to feel drained. If what you’re doing feels like it’s taking the life out of you, then you’re probably procrastinating.
Procrastination has an upside to it, though. Similar to jealousy and anger, it’s an indicator of areas of your life that could use some attention.
You see, you will only put off doing things that are good for you. Notice what you’re not doing, and you will have identified something that’s worth doing…something that’s going to make your life better, as soon as you get to it.
Your homework: Knock out one of those items from your list. You’ll feel a whole lot better once you do.