Do you know the feeling of anxiety when you have neglected for long what matters?
When for example, you postpone again and again to apply to that new job, or study for that exam, or finish that important project? Or even when you just don’t sit down to spend 30 minutes for paying all outstanding bills.
…and now, the deadline is only days or even hours away.
Today, our topic is on procrastination! I will talk about what we do exactly (or what we don’t do), why we procrastinate, and in the next week, I will provide simple but effective ways to be more productive – so keep on reading!
What we do, or… don’t do
You see, as humans, we try to avoid uncomfortable situations and we procrastinate to do something that is out of our own routine.
For example, we don’t put off getting up in the morning, taking the bus, spending hours in the office, and then taking the bus back home (well, sometimes we do).
Yet we struggle to spend 30 minutes doing essential tasks, like applying to this new and exciting job that you keep on telling your friends about.
And obviously, if you procrastinate and procrastinate for a prolonged period of time, at some point, all the tasks will appear with real and tangible pressure on to you.
If you don’t want to be kicked out of your home, you will have to pay the rent, the bills and perhaps the penalty for missing the deadlines. Eventually, you will have to start working on that important project for work because you are already behind the deadline and you can see the possibility of being fired.
But the biggest problem of this continuous procrastination is that, in the long run, we develop habits of feeling constantly anxious.
So, if you avoid paying your bills, or to do the essentials, soon, a subtle anxiety will start appearing on your body and your mind too, like something has been left undone, even when there is nothing outstanding.
And it’s not something that we notice when it first appears, we just become aware of it after months or years. Out of the blue, we start to feel unease, we are not really sure why we have that feeling or sensation. And then usually, we blame our jobs, our partners, government, but never quite ourselves.
How we procrastinate
Now, let me mention briefly how we procrastinate.
Usually, we create excuses and we bring them as obstacles. We say for example “I am too tired for paying the bills now, I prefer to relax, I can always do it tomorrow”. Or “I cannot concentrate now, I had a long day, I can always focus on the work project tomorrow”.
I won’t talk further about it, you can always check another audio that I have on this topic, called “Obstacle or Excuse?” – click in the link to listen.
Why we procrastinate
Have you ever thought of why we procrastinate?
There are a few reasons, so first, let’s jump into the deeper ones, the ones that arise at the universal level.
Too many options
I believe that procrastination is something that our modern and fast-paced society has imposed on us.
In the older ages, our ancestors had to do only 1-2 things, like take care of the farm or animals. Now though, there are potentially so many options available to us, which somehow confuses us and lead us to not do anything at all.
Agony of choice
All humans feel the agony of choice; if I decide to do this, I will miss out that.
You see, sometimes, we procrastinate because we just don’t want to make a choice, we prefer to avoid choosing. But as Kierkegaard (the Danish existential philosopher) has said, not making a choice is a choice itself!
And guys, this type of choice has potentially the worst results because it happens without our intention.
You know how relaxing it feels when we consciously decide not to do something and just take the time off (eg, to watch another episode of our favourite series).
This sense of calmness comes from the fact that we keep on being in a battle within our mind. Throughout our whole day, we fight our own self of whether to take the actions and finish the task, or just not do it.
When we finally say to ourselves “forget it, I’m not gonna do this tonight, I will postpone for tomorrow”, then a feeling of loosening up arises. The weight of the task is lifted from our shoulders, so no wonder why procrastination is so addictive!
These were some of the reasons that humans procrastinate. In the individual or personal level now, we usually procrastinate for two reasons.
How should I start?
First, we don’t know where and how to start our goals and tasks. Even for the simple tasks, there is usually a number of actions to be taken, but without taking the time to break down to subtasks and prioritise them, the actual goal seems overwhelming! And we postpone it.
I ain’t good enough
The other reason is that we don’t feel competent or even confident enough to go on with our task or goal. In general, the older we grow, the higher our fear of failure, which is the one that keeps on repeating inside our heads “I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough”.
The thing is that you are good enough! You are good enough for anything, you are conditioned, though, not to believe such a thing – but more on these in the next week.
So, today we talked about procrastination and what it is exactly, how we procrastinate and why we do it in various levels of our existence.
In the following week, I will provide you with various ways to avoid procrastination, or better, to procrastinate on procrastination – if this is a thing 🙂
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Stay tuned and talk to you soon!