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Meaning: the action of delaying or postponing something.
Synonyms: avoiding, dithering, delaying, stalling, shilly-shallying
Have ever heard the expression – “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”.
The reality is – tomorrow never comes – because when you wake up tomorrow – it’s today – and what you put off doing yesterday has been added to that ever-growing pile of stuff that you’re avoiding.
Everyone puts things off until the last minute, sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid starting tasks and habitually look for distractions. Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. “I don’t feel like it” takes precedence over goals.
But waiting to feel like doing something before starting it is fraught with problems. It might be okay for young children, but only being interested in an experience if it’s ‘sugar-coated’ with instant positive gratification leads to a life of mediocrity and non-achievement.
Perhaps, we’ve all been a little conned by the cultural idea that: ‘if something doesn’t feel good then don’t do it!’ But we don’t learn to enjoy exercise, for example, unless we get used to exercising without enjoyment. Tiredness, distractions, emotional reluctance need to be ignored, seen as irrelevant, if we are to build willpower.
And the ‘pay off’ from doing this is huge because the more we use willpower the more we can grow it – just like a muscle.
Procrastination involves a degree of self-deception; at some level we are aware of the truth of our actions but choose to ignore it. Have an honest look at yourself: Do your actions match your words? If you have to be a kidder, at least don’t kid yourself. We all need a healthy dose of honesty with ourselves.
Perfectionists tend to procrastinate; there’s an understandable unwillingness to begin projects knowing you’ll feel overwhelmingly pressured for them to be absolutely perfect.
There’s more than one flavour of procrastination.
The adrenalin-junky procrastinators typically say that they perform better under pressure, but more often than not this is a way of justifying putting things off.
Avoiders put off tasks because of fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are concerned with what other think of them.
Then there are decisional procrastinators who are unable to make a decision; not making a decision absolves them of responsibility for the outcome of events. But this can have a negative impact on personal relationships as well as in the workplace.
There are other negative impacts of procrastination
It’s not just about the things you “don’t get around to doing”, habitual delaying and avoiding behaviour can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health; it has been associated with stress, anxiety, a loss of self-confidence and even stress-related physical symptoms.
Hypnosis can help overcome procrastination
If you see yourself in any of these behaviours and you want to change – you can it. Hypnotherapy is one way of changing habitual patterns and behaviours in a way that the change feels completely natural.