The Push and Pull of Procrastination

By Ted Behr, M. Ed., CPCC, ACC

Procrastination is an occurrence that everyone encounters to one degree or another.  It is not prejudice.  It does not care about our education, race, age or intelligence.  It is a behavior that is independent of the need for achievement, energy, or self-confidence.  You may procrastinate even if you are confident in your own abilities, have an unlimited energy supply, or enjoy marking things off your to-do list.

The simple fact is we procrastinate as a result of how we feel.  Typically, it is our sense of worth that we are defending when we procrastinate.  To overcome procrastination then, it helps to start by accepting yourself as an imperfect human being, and understanding that your self-worth is not defined by your productivity.  It’s okay to make mistakes; it’s not okay to endlessly criticize yourself for falling short.

Through procrastination, what we do is create boundaries for the world we are allowing ourselves to operate in.  Those boundaries define our sense of reality.  That’s why we think, wrongly, that in order to overcome procrastination we must push ourselves hard and prod ourselves with self-talk like: “I must finish this by Friday.” “I need to buckle down.” “I have to get organized.” “I must try harder.”

Instead of all this nagging to get after something, how about we accept the fact that we can pull ourselves into action much more easily than we can push ourselves to act.  All it takes is identifying and going after what we want.  In other words, let our desires pull us forward rather than always feeling like we have to push ourselves into action.

Our minds work in a very simple way by imagining something we want and how it will make us feel good when we obtain it.  The good feeling this generates becomes all the impulse we need to move forward and get things accomplished.  Remember this the next time you find yourself trying to push yourself out of procrastination.  As an alternative, let the ease of your desires pull you forward into getting your tasks done.  To help with activating your desires, here are some procrastination quotes that can serve to motivate you.

“Nothing is as fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” ~William James

“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” ~ M. Scott Peck

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” ~Olin Miller

“You may delay, but time will not.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“Someday is not a day of the week.” ~Author Unknown

“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.” ~Eva Young

“The best way to get something done is to begin.” ~Author Unknown

“One of these days is none of these days.” ~Attributed to both Henri Tubach and H.G. Bohn

“If and When were planted, and Nothing grew.” ~Proverb


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