Is procrastinating about things you have to do or must do, a good or a bad thing? Being negative about your delaying habits is not good for your self-esteem – you feel guilty about being lazy, feel unmotivated, and your list of to-do things gets longer and longer and you feel anxious and stressed. However sometimes procrastinators are very creative, and once they get to work on a project they can be more productive and create better results. If the consequence of this that other stuff doesn’t get done – dirty laundry and dishes, invoicing put off for another week – that can be OK.
What’s Going On When We Procrastinate?
When you delay doing a task that means your unconscious mind is working on the task and you are not ready to showcase your final project. So when finding other things to do such as cleaning the house, updating your social media profiles, or doing less important activities, you are letting your ideas percolate and giving your creativity and brain time to get a feel of the project. If you want to find a creative way to finish your project, procrastination happens when you are planning in your mind, letting the different pieces of information sink in and when you sit to start the job it synthesises it all in.
Daydreaming and procrastination also allow for your stress for the deadline to build and increases your motivation. There is an invisible relationship between your performance and the stress you feel and you can harness this together proactively. You can use this as your strategy to be more productive without allowing the feelings of overwhelming to build. Most people think that things need to be done a certain way but changing things up and letting your creativity flow is the smart thing to do. For example, if you had to start a report today, rushed to complete it but made lots of mistakes because you have not thought it through, you may find it surprising beneficial to spend some time procrastinating and then rework the project.
How To Procrastinate Proactively
Here are five steps that businesspeople can use to turn their procrastination into a positive force:
- Intentionally procrastinate: do this so you can percolate your ideas, giving yourself the time to be sure and think. Allow some time to procrastinate when setting yourself deadlines.
- Find out why you are procrastinating and what is the reason you are stalling from doing the job you need to. Maybe the reason you’re procrastinating is because you’re not actually ready to see through your ideas? Perhaps you don’t believe your plan is a good one, or that a product or service is really ready to launch. These uncertainties may be causing your subconscious to put the breaks on while you think things through. Or are you delaying because it’s against your values and principles? Do you fear failure? If you can find out the answers to all these questions then you will be able to move on.
- Don’t let your guilt about procrastinating stop you from moving forward with your business idea or product. If you start to have negative thoughts you will let your mind get into a negative spin of procrastination and be self-critical about your ideas. Don’t beat yourself up about procrastinating, instead see it as a positive that can actually help you long term.
- Solving the problem that causes you to procrastinate. If you’re putting off doing something because it’s daunting, find a way to break it down into smaller chunks. You may think you’re procrastinating because of the ‘big challenge’ but you may find it’s actually because of a single element of the overall challenge. For example, perhaps you need to have a difficult conversation to push the project through, or there’s a task involved that you don’t enjoy doing. You may find that tackling these head on will release your productivity.
- Make your business colleague or a friend help you be accountable – team up with this friend in order to share deadlines, achieve your goals and share ideas or suggestions that will make sure you meet your deadlines. You can both help stay accountable and on track by collaborating and talking or planning together to figure how to best achieve your goal.
If you find that your productivity and success if hampered by procrastinating and you’re struggling to turn it from a negative into a positive, cognitive behaviour therapy can help. For a free consultation or chat about the challenges you’re facing, contact me to see whether CBT could help you focus on what’s important.
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