What Happens When We Plan to Procrastinate

What Happens When We Plan to Procrastinate

I tend to procrastinate. I can start my day with the best of intentions to get important tasks done, but oftentimes I soon find myself detouring from the path. I end up filling my hours with busyness and errands.  I know the most important things I need to do, and the ones that will bring me ultimate happiness; but I tend to put the more pressing things first (chores, errands, phone calls, etc).

why-we-procrastinatePeople are usually aware of those times when they are procrastinating but they cannot seem to flip the switch. This can lead to all kinds of self-defeating thoughts and feelings of guilt, eventually causing depression. When we are procrastinating, it is usually over the things that will make our lives better. Not doing them usually results in unpleasant consequences.   

So, why do we procrastinate? Why do we let meaningless situations get in the way of our dreams? Why do we put off starting a new business, losing the weight or taking that trip? What is really so important in life that we have to put our dreams on the back burner?   

The reasons why we procrastinate are as varied as the number of people reading this blog post. However, once you understand the reasoning behind the hesitation, you have valuable insight on how to overcome your reluctance.  Following are some of the key reasons that most people procrastinate:

Fear of failure. This affects many areas of our life–everything from writng a report to making a presentation. No one wants to fail at anything but failure is an assumption rather than a reality. My favorite acronym for FEAR is False Events Appearing Real. And, truthfully, we let our minds determine if we will be a failure or success. We really do not know until we try.

Fear of success. Not much different than the fear of failure. If we are successful at something, what else will that success bring? More complex tasks to complete? Again, the mind goes into overdrive trying to figure out the outcome of successfully completing a task or project.

Perfectionism. This is an unrealistic goal that we often set for ourselves. There is no such thing as “perfect” because “perfect” is judged by everyone differently. Just begin and lower your expectations. Eighty percent is much better than zero percent any day.

Overthinking. There are projects that need to be thought through, need planning and need a good timeline for completion but overthinking and not beginning the project at all is simply procrastination. You have to start somewhere. Begin where you can and work through the additional steps as they present themselves.

Poor time management. In today’s fast-paced world it is easy to get overwhelmed with career, family and a multitude of other tasks and that is a big reason why we procrastinate. We often make poor choices about what to do next based on our heart and not our heads. Then we wonder why we do nothave any time left for that sales presentation that you must make in two days. Taking baby steps to complete a project is better than ignoring it all together. Spend just a few minutes working on one task, chipping away every day and you will make progress. Don’t think that you have to carve out two and a half hours–that might unrealistic given your schedule. Take whatever time you can devote to a task and make a little progress.

Take some time to create a To Do list of all the things you would like to accomplish. Now prioritize these items in order of importance to you.  Pick three of these to accomplish each day and you will see just how quickly you can move down that list and check things off.

Or not…

I confess that I can be a huge procrastinator because I am a bit of hedonist.  Although, I still wrestle with overthinking and poor time management from time to time, a lot of my business tasks often take a back seat because I play hard and often.  Fortunately, I (eventually) come back to business with a lot of clarity and fresh ideas.  I was happy to come across the following TED Talk by David Winass where he expresses that  we allot tiime for procrastination because it has a valid part in a productive, creative process. David even suggests that we allot time for the right doses of procrastination.

 

I like David's perspective on procrasination…he makes it legitimate 🙂

 

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About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.

Comments

  1. If your procrastinations reasons were in the form of a quiz I’d score 100%. Even though fear of failure and fear of success may seem the opposite they can go hand in hand: “What if my new website flops, I fail, what if it succeeds, can I cope with all the extra work involved?”

    The video helped me realize that even though I may put off things that don’t have a deadline, I don’t really waste time because I’m reading, researching, learning and thinking. Even so I need to limit this type of procrastination or nothing gets get done. I need to procrastinate on my procrastination 🙂

    I enjoyed listening to David’s accent as I was born and bred in Hull. My own accent is now part Aussie.
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  2. Well said and excellent video Rachel. I worked for a man several years ago who’s priorities never quite seemed to mesh with what I thought they should be – yep, I did say I worked for him not the other way around. But he often put off meetings returning calls, etc. What I learned from him was how often the problems that people were so anxious to lay in his lap managed to get solved when they didn’t get instant access to him. I’m not saying it was a perfect solution, and as much as I respected and admired the man he also drove me crazy – but it worked for him and I learned to see the value.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…The #1 Obstacle to Effective Problem SolvingMy Profile

  3. I admit I am guilty of this however the issue I find myself in is poor time management. I have plans to get some things done in a day however, I end up taking longer than had expected at the super market, I get on the phone and the conversation ends a lot later than expected.. oh yes the list goes on. Perfectionism is definitely an issue too. So I think the best way to deal with this is to aim to get a little less done in one day, limit calls, and choose a time to actually go shopping and to run some errands. Great post.
    Miriam Slozberg recently posted…Klout Tips from Artificial Intelligence and Machine LearningMy Profile

  4. I’ve gotta plead guilty Rachel!

    You offer five extremely good points. And without a doubt at different times, I’ve been guilty to some degree or another, of all five of them.

    but like you, often times after the initial procrastination period is over. I find (like you) that I too and re-focused and re- energized as well.

    I really like your tips and the reasoning you shared behind them! great post! And thanks for sharing it!
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  5. Rachel,
    well said in every way.. and great video as well.. I watched this video last year and I was amazed.. now it was great to re-watch it again.

    O made notes on your main reason why most of us procrastinate.. I recognize many of them since I am guilty or I should say I was guilty most times but some how conquered some as well…hahah 🙂

    One way I found out that procrastination is won comes easy to me now after practicing for a long time and that is … no matter what I have on my to do list.. when I get up in the morning I focus on what I feel more at easy to do.. and sooner or later get to the rest of the things or work or errands to do… mind you, I am very grateful that I have that luxury most times and love it.. I understand not everyone has it… but I know most of us can create it as long as we make it a priority long enough.

    Thanks so much for yet another wonderful article full of great info for all of us to learn and enjoy reading from…
    _nickc
    Nick Catricala recently posted…How do you handle conflicts in life and business?My Profile

  6. “..failure is an assumption rather than a reality… we let our minds determine if we will be a failure or success.” I think this is beautifully put and I like the focus. It clears the way to start doing whatever the task is.
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  7. Hello Rachel, Yes indeed I do think we are all guilty of a few of these at one tome or another. I do find that when I have a to do list in front of me I do tend to get more done. So I start each day by sitting down and writing this out. Great article and video.. Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))

  8. Hi Rachel, making a list the night before and prioritising works great for me, and I love it when I cross something off the list. I think there’s another reason for procrastinating too – when there’s a task I don’t like to do, I procrastinate, which means I really should get someone else to do that task!
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  9. It’s always reassuring to read about procrastination and be reminded that it’s not just me! I think the ‘fear of success’ is a biggie for me at the moment (though I identify with all of them) because having just come out of a 9-to-5 I’m enjoying the freedom of planning my own time which will be less flexible as my business gets busier. But I’ve allowed myself a gentle couple of months and now I’m enjoying getting stuck in.

    I really like the bit in the video where he talks about allowing time to not think about things so you can leave them to the sub-conscious. I definitely find that my best way of writing is in short blocks of time with gaps in between where my head gets on with it.

    Interesting ideas 🙂
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  10. Hi Rachel. I’ve got one more reason to add to the list for why we procrastinate — lack of motivation/”energy.” I find this one to be relevant for me when it comes to doing certain tasks, which I find boring. After reading that TED talk video, though, I realized we really do need to value the power of procrastination. Once understanding some of the purposes it serves, all those “roadblocks” to not doing something seem to be lifted.
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  11. I am definitely guilty of some of these reasons at one point or another. I think poor time management is my main problem. Even though I may have my calendar right in front of me, I still find myself not getting everything done. I think my problem many times is I put too much on my plate and then get frustrated when I cannot get it all done. But I still attempt each day to stay focused. Some days are better than others but I do see success, which keeps me motivated to stay focused and drive forward. Thanks for sharing.
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  12. Rachel

    That Procrasti Nation can be a killer, have read many books on it. Your list is great as one or all of these become part of the reason to procrastinate. You can have many cures and suggestions to help fix this issue, but it requires self discipline to take it seriously.

    Thanks for sharing, Andy
    Andy Lockhart recently posted…Is the Urchin Annoying you?My Profile

  13. Rachel,

    Thanks for sharing this video. I have certainly spent time procrastinating and I might keep saying to myself “You have to get this done.” But it doesn’t get done until I have a strong deadline, when all my minor tasks nagging at me are completed, and when my mind has had enough time to sort through the possibilities. I like his comment that we can “stumble upon solutions” rather than planning and struggling to find the solutions.

    Warmly,
    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…What Does Your Brain Know That You Don’t?My Profile

  14. Mine has and will continue to be taking time out for myself. I fail each year to take my needed vacation time. I mean, not taking trips which I do each week. I mean just no planning , relaxing stuff.

    Well, the first time in years and I can not remember. Yet, as of today and all last week, it is done. The first official real vacation being done. Yet, see, I am writing this comment? I enjoy and it relaxes me. Hey, reading a manual relaxes me.

    I find doing what I love each and everyday, is a huge non-stop vacation. Did you catch that? So, yes I fail at taking me time. I am working on it as are we all.

    I found this article hit our hearts. This is one subject that will have much responses. We are all unique and have desires and visions which are different. When we hesitate to get things done that only leads us closure to our visions. We need more confidence that we feel alone. I believe that is the huge difference and knowing this. Doesn’t make it any easier to get it done over and over again.

    Thank you again for giving us much to think, act and get done.
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  15. Definitely something I can relate to! We have to get done what we have to get done and time runs out – and yet if we put aside time for those things we really need to do for ourselves daily, we will be happier, and whatever didn’t get done during that short period of time will be there tomorrow and no one will be the wiser.

  16. I absolutely LOVE the idea of planning for procrastination. I do it, too….but I always get my work done pretty quickly, too. I think I have a block towards feeling like my work owns me…even though I work from home. Ultimately, this is a job, too, and it actually requires more hours than what I did when I worked outside the home. The difference is that it is work that I WANT to do.

    So…it’s good to know that, while I should not be self sabotaging, I should definitely be giving myself time to goof off, occasionally. Thank you, Rachel! Great article, lady!
    Christi Johnson recently posted…I Am A Mom Before I Am Any, Other RoleMy Profile

  17. In my early days, it was definitely fear of failure. I would go back and change things at the last minute. These days, I’m up front with my client. If I don’t like it, I’ll ask them for a set number of days to extend it so they get the best proof possible in their website’s design… even if it is merely modifying a current template on a budget.

    Clients are fine as long as in the end you do what you will say. They will accept things, but procrastinating because of fear means that you don’t have the client’s expectations of the project in place. It’s best to nip it early and ask in order to clarify.
    Nile recently posted…When Leaving the Internet Marketing Lingo At the Door Is BestMy Profile

  18. Fabulous post! All very true and informative. I can be a bit of a procrastinator, too!

  19. I freely admit that I am the biggest procrastinator ever.

    I have blog posts sitting in draft that I havn’t finished.
    Video’s cut but not edited.
    Video’s edited but not published.
    And training purchased but not watched.
    All because of procrastination.
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    • Haha! I absolutely feel the same way… I have think about doing a lot of things.. but i never end up doing them just like you… To be honest I think for people like you and me, we have one option. DO IT! We should just finish the work in front of us instead of procrastinating.. just a thought! Feels nice to know that people like me also exists else where.. lol.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Procrastination is the breeding ground of tolerations. There is also a time component to tolerations. The longer a "pesky little task" is not handled, the more energy is drained. […]