Procrastination. Oh! You thought I was talking about the other P? Purpose? No. Not this time.
Last week, I caught myself. I had something, time sensitive, to complete and I was just lounging across my bed, scrolling and scrolling away on my beloved phone. A deadline was approaching and there I was evading responsibility. I’ve got time. It shouldn’t take me that long. Before I knew it, it was bedtime. I got nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, done. I had time. Or so I thought. Most would call that lazy. If I didn’t know me, I’d call me lazy.
Truth is, I was procrastinating. Isn’t that the same thing? Actually, procrastination is not a synonym for laziness. The two are quite different. While laziness suggests an unwillingness to act, procrastination is a choice to do something else instead of what you know you should be doing. I knew I should have been working on this particular task, I chose to do something else, easier, that didn’t require much thought or effort. I chose something minuscule because I was dreading facing the task at hand. I was definitely procrastinating. But why?
I learned and was later reminded that procrastination is really about fear. Fear? Yes, fear. As I mull over my recent acts of “The P”, I gathered I was avoiding completing specific tasks because I was afraid of what was on the other end of completion. What if it’s horrible? What if it’s actually really good and I am given more responsibility? Valid thoughts but they hindered my progress. There are a number of fears that contribute to procrastination. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being uncomfortable are a few. I would even venture to say these are the most common. So how do we overcome our fears associated with procrastination?
Put the phone down
Eliminate the distractions. Give yourself times and space to be inspired and motivated without the influence of your distractions. It’s perfectly OK and necessary to unplug sometimes.
Stay ready so you ain’t got to get ready
The more prepared we are, the less time we spend operating in fear of failure. We can even reduce the fear of the unknown.
We may have to take baby steps but at least it’s movement. Start small and then celebrate those small victories. Taking small steps initially lessens the pressure of completing a huge task all at once.
Insert a coma after a mistake
Mistakes don’t signify the end. Embrace the possibility of learning new lessons with the mistakes you make.
Get you a friend
Accountability is key! We may think we can do things on our own but the truth is, a lot of times we need someone to hold us accountable. Get you a friend that will call you and say, “Hey, did you finish that project? How’s it going?”
The major problem with procrastination is, while we are actively putting something off, mainly due to fear, we are simultaneously setting ourselves up for disappointment, lack of motivation and a life of stagnancy. I have had every excuse in the book as to why I have been procrastinating on a few things. But, if I were to be honest with myself, I’d come to the conclusion that I have been watching life pass me by. I have been witness to the successes of others in my sphere of influence and have lagged when it comes to making the necessary steps to achieve my own success. Now it’s time to activate the steps I mentioned to minimize the power of The P while I earnestly make purposeful progress towards my goals.
What steps are you taking to eliminate the power of The P?