Procrastination. We all do it. We all feel bad about it. Yet it remains among the most common of bad habits of the average daily life. We can ask ourselves why, but the most obvious explanations are abundantly clear. Fundamentally, in the short-term, it is simply easier.
Not only is it easier, our minds have become quite clever at creating an endless list of excuses (or really just reasons masquerading as excuses) to justify it. Ask me why I watch more television than I probably should and I’ll answer: because it creates more relaxation in a smaller amount of time than anything else I know. I get the most bang for my buck and that’s great value. And when I’m looking for relaxation, or anything for that matter, it makes sense to go with the option that offers the most instant gratification with the smallest investment possible. Are these things true? Yes, they definitely are. They appear to be completely rational thoughts. Are these things false? Yes, they definitely are. It’s all about perspective really, and I think most of us know this. Most of us know that procrastinating may bring more relaxation into our lives today or this week, but it certainly won’t bring more relaxation into our lives this month or this year.
Sometimes we can get so busy that we can go through days or weeks without even noticing that we’ve wandered into procrastination territory again. The fact is, that aside from being easier, for many procrastination does serve additional and significant purposes. It is this dynamic that keeps us stuck in it despite knowing that it will rarely truly work to our benefit.
For me, right now my most important task is committing to a regular writing routine which includes creating blog posts, articles, an e-mail newsletter, another e-Book, etcetera. Writing is key to the success of business online. My problem is that to me, writing feels like public speaking, and I have always struggled with any form of public speaking. I actually rarely think about this, but I always know its the root of this problem. Its why I find myself putting off my writing until I review one or several of my texts, or read something new, or both… Sometimes even work can be procrastination in disguise…
Recently I read the following quote and had one of those ah-hah moments where I questioned what I’ve been doing for the last several weeks:
If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
Jacques Yves Cousteau
It made me realize that while indulging my avoidance tactics, however below awareness they were, and however alternatively productive they are, I am not only sparing myself some discomfort that I can easily get over with practice, but I’m depriving others of what I have to offer that would be helpful to their lives. Caught up in my silly concerns that some people are not going to love or even like what I have to say, I lost my awareness of those that will. I don’t need to save the entire planet, I don’t need the whole world to agree with me. I just need to focus on what matters – the fact that there are people out there who will benefit from what I have to say. That’s enough for me.
What this all boils down to is that sometimes procrastination is just procrastination, and sometimes its more than that. We owe it to ourselves, and to the people that matter to us if and when the situation applies, to take a closer look at what is going on. There can be many explanations for your procrastination – avoidance, fear of failure, ambivalent motivation, guilt, grief – the possibilities are endless really. Fortunately, procrastination is not…