You know you’re in trouble when you wear your habit of procrastinating like a badge – “I don’t know…it’s just who I am…I am a procrastinator.” You go on to further explain “I just LOVE the adrenaline rush of a deadline fast approaching. I spend two sleepless nights and I get the task done – right in the nick of time. I do my BEST work this way!”
Do it Later – the 2013 planner for the Creative Procrastinator by Mark Asher contains a list of warning signs that your procrastination may be at a crisis point. See what fits:
- You’ve made a master list for all your lists
- You consider jumping from one idea to the next to be exercise
- You reorganize your desk shortly after you reorganized your desk
- You’re thinking about where you’ll go for lunch before you’ve finished breakfast
- You send an email to yourself just to make sure your email is working
- Every time you receive an email you check for new email TWICE
- You’ve convinced yourself that playing Minesweeper on your laptop is making you smarter
Why do we procrastinate? It’s a very popular topic. My Google search offered 28 million possible options. I just went with the first entry by Pamela Wiegartz, Ph.D., Director of CBT Services and Training in the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and on faculty at Harvard Medical School. Like the first list, see if any of these sound familiar:
1. When faced with a task, do you think of all the ways it could go wrong?
2. Do you picture how important people in your life might react if you failed?
3. Do you believe it’s better to not try at all than to try your best and fail?
4. Are you overwhelmed by the possibility of new responsibilities if you are successful?
5. Do you subscribe to the idea “If I do well, then others will expect more of me”?
6. Do you feel your success will lead to other people finding out the “real you”?
7. Do you believe that if you’re going to do something, you should try to do it perfectly?
8. Do you find it difficult to persist when things aren’t going just right?
9. Would you rather avoid doing something than do it imperfectly?
Now that you’ve identified parts of yourself in list one or two or both what are you going to do next? Most of you have probably talked your way through this topic either with a professional or a friend OR you’ve gone the self help route and read a book. And yet you find yourself right back where you’ve started. You changed for a bit but then you slipped right back into your comfort zone which has now become quite uncomfortable. This zone is filled with anxiety, avoidance and shame. Nothing gets done and you never really relax because your to-dos never go away.
Mark’s list regarding whether your procrastination habit is at a crisis point is meant to be funny and yes, we sometimes not only just organize the desk – we clean the office! But the real tragedy is that your procrastination habit is preventing the real you from showing up, sharing your ideas and bettering wherever you are right now.
I don’t think you need another book or discussion about your procrastination habit – I think you need a safe space to slowly break the frame around who you’ve BECOME, and begin to let through who you really ARE. You need to know that your feeling of worthlessness only exists because you’ve disconnected from yourself. You have forgotten who you are for so long that you’ve actually started to believe that this is you: lazy, no-good, joker, slacker, impostor, never going to amount to much. You are so afraid of living out your purpose because you either feel incapable of achieving the ideas that keep bubbling up in your consciousness or you feel that you don’t deserve the dreams you see that have become so painful to look at…so painful to imagine. You try to numb any feelings you have and block out the images and when you’re asked about your hopes and dreams, you say you have none or you say you’re content with what you have or you say it doesn’t matter. THIS is the real crisis point.
Your life need not be controlled by fate. Some people blindly live by certain rules without question or contemplation and use those rules to express why “they can’t” and why they live by fate – not faith. I know you have that unexpressed treasure within. Nothing is going to happen unless you take action. If you’re ready to say “Yes” to a seven-week adventure that will put you on the road to discovering who you really are and what you’re capable of then send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s time to break free from your long held captivity!