Three Types of Procrastination and How To Beat Them
Ugh – that dreaded ‘P’ word… the thief of joy.
Nearly all of us suffer from some form of procrastination at some point. With the added pressure of a global pandemic thrown in and all the uncertainly THAT brings, is it any surprise? We’re dawdling on most decisions now, more than ever. Whether it’s at work, in your business or even that pesky DIY job you just can’t bring yourself to do – the procrastination demon rears it’s ugly head and tries to ruin us.
But why? Putting something off isn’t just laziness… it could actually be far more sinister.
Anxiety procrastination feels like this: you think about the task, you get hot and bothered, you tell yourself to start it right now, you get flustered and need a lie-down. When you get up you think about the task again and decide you’re too emotionally exhausted to do it today – it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Rinse and repeat.
The thing with anxiety procrastination is that we know we’ll feel better when the task is done. And yet, we can’t bring ourselves to do it! So, how do we combat it?
There are two smart ways to handle your anxiety procrastination:
Plan something super fun for right after the task
This way, you’ll be focused on the future, what you’re going to do next. Anxiety leaves us hanging in the past; “I should have done that already”, but forward planning allows us to see our lives after the task is done.
Break it down
If the enormity of the task is what’s giving you anxiety, then make it less enormous!
Put little chunks of your time aside to chip away at the task, bit by bit. Soon, the entire thing will be done and you won’t have had a panic attack, sweated through your fave silk shirt or spent 25 years ‘checking Facebook for inspiration..’ (I see you!)
“I’m a perfectionist” is a very common ‘get-out’ that procrastinators use to avoid finishing tasks, but it’s entirely counter-productive. Have you ever titivated a project so much that you lose complete interest in it? That’s perfectionist procrastination at work! Claiming that it’s not ‘done yet’ is just another way of giving yourself some leeway. I’m sorry, but it’s true!
Put down the bullet journal and coloured pens. Let’s get you perfectionism free, without sacrificing the quality of the job.
……..Set yourself a time limit before you start on the task. Realistically, how long should it take you? Could you split it up into 1-hour chunks?
………Give yourself a hard deadline. Throughout the task, set soft deadlines. ie. this stage should be completed by this date/time. Then set your hard deadline, the inflexible one by which the entire task or project must be completed.
………Remind yourself of all the tasks you’ve done in the past. Were they all perfect? No. Did they all get done? Yes. Did the world end because it wasn’t perfect? No.
The altogether more sinister side of procrastination is this: you do not believe you are worthy of praise or recognition, so you sabotage yourself.
The altogether more sinister side of procrastination is this: you do not believe you are worthy of praise or recognition, so you sabotage yourself. Whilst this is the least common form of procrastination, it appears more often in women and entrepreneurs. The hallmarks are leaving things to the last minute, failing to plan and feeling a constant sense of ‘lack’.
People who procrastinate to hurt their own futures are usually the last to notice it in themselves. They’re the type of person you’d describe as ‘utterly capable but totally hopeless’. It would seem that they don’t mean to be disorganised or haphazard, but actually, it’s a sign of how little they value themselves.
In this case, simple tactics and tricks aren’t going to create an overnight solution. Rather, the self-harming procrastinator needs structure, support and a strategy – the kind that can be provided by a coach, therapist or mentor.
Do you see yourself in any of the above ‘procrastinators’? I know I do.
Business owners are, undoubtedly, the worst for it – but it also plights the students, writers and artists of the world. So, you are not alone.
If you know someone who might be a touch guilty of one of the above, perhaps you explain to them that you know where their procrastination comes from – once we reveal the problem to ourselves, it’s often far less of a problem than it first appeared.
Enjoyed this article? Read more from our Girlboss Editor Stephanie, here.
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