Do you identify yourself as a procrastinator? Many people do and it can be a huge problem for them. Others also identify as procrastinator but accept it, just as the way things are and have made peace with it. Either way, when you put things off, until the tension and discomfort builds, you are creating powerful blocks to living your best life.
If you want, there is another way to live. Beat procrastination the easy way.
Beat Procrastination the Easy Way
I was tired of the pain that procrastinating causes. Even when you have accepted that “it’s just the way you are” it’s still painful. The energy of having something nipping at your heels while you resist just doesn’t feel good. It was time to face the procrastination monster and banish it for good.
Many people call themselves procrastinators. I was one of them. I felt that being a procrastinator was a personal flaw but one that I couldn’t change. So, if you feel like that at times, then this might be helpful for you because I have some good news about procrastination.
Most people don’t procrastinate about everything—just certain things. They have things that they procrastinate about and the resulting energy block makes everything feel worse. It can feel huge, like you do procrastinate about everything. But you don’t and that IS good news!
When you are actively resisting doing something that you know you are going to have to do at some time, you are creating a formidable block that can keep you stuck. This is NOT a fun feeling.
Is Procrastination Always Bad?
I hate to call procrastination bad. I know, some people swear by it. However, it is definitely not a helpful habit. Anything that puts blocks into your energy is NOT helpful.
What About Tips for Overcoming Procrastination?
There are lots of articles out there with tips for overcoming procrastination or why we procrastinate. I don’t know about you but those didn’t work too well for me. Knowing the why and having tips for overcoming it, just didn’t help me change significantly.
It’s still interesting to know some of the reasons we do it.
Reasons People Procrastinate
- Fear of failure
- Not knowing how to do something
- It’s expensive
- To avoid confrontation
- Not enough interest/it seems boring
- Your mind is blank (writing or creative endeavors)
- You feel like you don’t know how to do it well enough
- Intimidated by the person you need to talk to or work with or situation
- Think you need to be motivated
- Don’t want to be told what to do
- Don’t care
What You Don’t Need to Do
Here’s the great thing. You don’t have to diagnose your deep reasons for procrastinating. You already have the ability to deal with each and every one of these reasons. How do I know that?
Because procrastination usually doesn’t mean you don’t EVER do something. It means you put it off as long as you possibly can.
Eventually you do it. So, I know you can and will do it!
I’m going to try and help you remove the PAIN that accrues during the time you would normally be procrastinating.
When, I decided to explore this phenomenon in more depth, I thought it was going to be complicated. Yet, the solution to procrastinating was fairly straight forward and easy.
The Procrastination Work Around
A relatively simple process has helped me end my procrastination. But first, when you look at your list, see if there are any things that you have NO intention of doing. Take these things off your list. That is one way to alleviate the pain of procrastination. Accept that you are probably NEVER going to do the thing and just take it off your list. You can always add it back at another time.
Why Should You Give Up Procrastinating?
- A stressor is immediately removed
- You feel better
- Your energy raises
- You get more done
- You become more efficient
There is NO drawback to not procrastinating.
Not procrastinating becomes a super power.
And when you aren’t resisting doing things, those things you know you are going to end up doing anyway, you clear the way for more energy in your life! It’s amazing. It’s simple. And it works.
How to Beat Procrastination
So here is what DID work for me. It was to identify two aspects of my procrastination habits. Once I had that awareness in front of me, I wasn’t at the mercy of my procrastination.
The two things you need to be aware of are:
- What are the common things you do procrastinate about?
- What are your most common ways of procrastinating?
I identified a few things in the two following areas and I was able to get things done that I had been putting off for weeks! It feels amazing to NOT have things hanging over my head.
Step One: Identify What You Procrastinate About?
We all procrastinate over certain things. The things I hate to do are any kind of phone calls about insurance, incorrect billing, or health related things. I will put any of those things off until I no longer can. I also resist having to do anything with car care until the last minute.
Here are some common things that people procrastinate about. This is not an all-inclusive list! This is to give you some ideas. Please adjust or add your own to this list.
- Phone calls
- Writing assignments
- Writing thank-you notes
- Making doctor appointments
- Calling to correct billing or insurance issues
- Checking on family
- Updating your resume
- Answering emails
- Returning phone calls
- Taking your car to the shop for maintenance
- Taking your pet to the vet
- Making a big decision
- Arranging travel
- Opening an IRA or other investment account
- Doing your taxes
- Paying bills
- Cleaning a messy closet, refrigerator, drawer, or cabinet
- Getting a haircut
- Shopping for a new bra
- Home repairs
The great thing about listing what you procrastinate about is that you will also see that there are a lot of things you DON’T procrastinate about. You are successfully getting plenty of things done.
So, all you need to do is isolate and identify what are the things you put off, until you have no choice but to do it. It’s not like you don’t ever get around to these things but you put it off until it is uncomfortable.
Remove this discomfort and life will move along much more enjoyably.
Step Two: Identify How You Procrastinate
Now it’s time to identify, how you procrastinate. I call these things your PDOC, your Procrastination Drug of Choice. We don’t all procrastinate in the same way and we don’t all procrastinate in mindless ways.
The stereotype of someone procrastinating, is that person surfing the web, shopping, or watching TV. Yes, those are certainly ways to put off doing something that you need to do. But procrastination is much more insidious than that. Some of us find WORTHY, socially acceptable ways to procrastinate.
This is why it is vital to identify your PDOC. I was surprised by what I found was mine. Mine is doing things with and for friends and family. You want to meet for coffee or lunch and talk? I will drop everything. You want me to babysit? Again, I will drop anything and everything.
If I’m really in procrastination mode, I’ll initiate phone calls and getting together. Running errands is a strong second. When I’m putting something off, I will have the strongest urge to go to the grocery store or Target.
What is your procrastination drug of choice? One interesting thing to note, is that some items can actually be on either list. For example, cleaning something could be the thing you are avoiding or it can be the way you avoid doing something else.
Common Ways to Procrastinate:
- Playing computer games
- Calling a friend or family
- Social media of choice
- Running errands
- Helping someone out
- Taking a phone call
Putting it Together
In writing this, as I discovered how I procrastinated and what I procrastinated about, suddenly it wasn’t unconscious behavior. And once it wasn’t unconscious, it wasn’t something that was just happening to me.
The week I discovered this, I noted that I had an insurance call to make and my car needed an oil change. And I was putting these things off by doing other things. It was almost funny how predictable I am. So, I just got my things done and that was it.
Something that had felt difficult, became a total non-issue by simply being aware of it.
It really helped me to identify and write down the things I often procrastinate about. I was surprised that it really was just a few things that I kept putting off over and over. Then I was even more surprised when I identified my PDOC.
When I had them written down and in black and white in front of me, I couldn’t ignore them anymore. The great part was that once I had them written down, they didn’t seem so big and scary anymore.
To help you out, here’s a printable worksheet to help you identify your areas of procrastination and put it all together.
I love finding ways to help me through things that seem hard to do. Clearing mental clutter like procrastinating, creates more time to do the things that I enjoy.
I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me!
Keep showing up my friends!
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.
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