Is Procrastination harmful? It would depend on who you ask. I think most of us would say it is. At the very least, it certainly doesn’t do much to build self confidence, self esteem or self worth.
Now I have heard it said that Procrastination is just a polite way of saying "It's just not that important to me". When I first heard that, I must admit it was like a knife through the heart - but only because, if I am being totally honest, there are many instances that I can think of where that would be entirely true.
Like cleaning the house...or doing laundry...or gardening. I sincerely want those tasks completed, but they are just not that important to me. And I make many resolutions and proclaim that "I really want to get better at doing them" - but, again, if I am being honest with myself - just not a priority for me.
However, I don't think that is the only reason we Procrastinate. It may very well be the main reason in many instances, but alas, I have found others that will be the main focus of this blog post.
Procrastination is defined as the habit of putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention. Some even view it as a character flaw stigmatized by laziness or irresponsibility, which only serves to promote the shame that many of us feel around our Procrastinating tendencies. There are several common causes of procrastination, including:
- Complicated Task Anxiety
- Priority Confusion
- Lack of Focus
I think the reason most of us put off what’s important goes much deeper and is worthy of a little more self-exploration.
One of my biggies - when it comes to why I put things off that are important to me - has to do with another annoying "P" villain that has robbed me of countless accomplishments. The dreaded Perfectionism! Maybe you can relate with that? Its pretty easy to diagnose, ask yourself:
Do I have high standards? Do I expect a lot from myself, day-in and day-out? Do I love it when life is organized and orderly? Do I only accept “the best” with everything I do? My personal favorite is, “If it can't be done perfectly now...then it can wait until I have time to do it right”. Um, yeah – “it can wait” is just fewer syllables for Procrastination.
Yes, there is a word for people like us: Perfectionists. We worry over life's details and we are anxious to make every event fit with in a preconceived idea of, well, perfection. An idea that we know in our heart is ridicules, right? We can all agree that actually getting in the game is much more valuable to our success than getting it perfect right from the start.
Can you imagine if athletes waited until they perfected their game, before they ever actually started? Or if an artist waited to become renowned before he - or she - actually put a brush to canvas? I could continue to make ridicules comparisons - as fun as that sounds, it would only serve to procrastinate the completion of this post.
But does Perfectionism really cause Procrastination? Yes, I think It does.
Procrastination is often a symptom of Perfectionism and the root of Perfectionism lies in setting our standards so high that they, either can't be met, or they are only met with great difficulty. And who wants to start something that has the potential to be disappointing or will include great difficulty?
We do – you do – that’s why you are reading this. So, what is the solution?
Some actions that you can take to get unstuck and work through the paralyzing need for Perfection are:
- Set realistic Goals and Timelines - know what the desired outcome is but stay flexible. Just get in the game!
- Make a commitment to be OK with your best - and know that best doesn't mean without mistakes.
- Look at the Big Picture - perfectionists tend to get tangled in the details. Look at why you want to accomplish it.
- Reward yourself - once completed, treat yourself to things that make you feel good. No NOT junk food!
These are just a few things you can do. There are many more - like working with a Greatness Coach to help keep you accountable - you knew I would add that one in, right? I mean, it's what I do - and I am really, really good at it!
To summarize, Procrastination is not laziness. It’s not a sign of being irresponsible or defective. It’s more a misguided sense of activity based on a low tolerance for frustration and failure. Perfectionism and the Procrastination that results from it, is the enemy of creativity, innovation, productivity and sanity. However - the great news is - you can make the decision right now to break down the barriers of Perfectionism and step into the Greatness you are destined for.
Miles Berdache Lynk
Remember...its another beautiful day in Paradise...and the perfect day for you to step into Greatness!
And, before I forget...Thank You for holding space and partaking on my first blog entry.