Recognizing procrastination is good, but understanding its “why” is better. Procrastination can have some very simple origins, but the most complex ones are also the most powerful. Learn how to work on your mental clutter and your blocks, in order to improve your mental health and your professional life all at once. Achieve your goals by dissolving your blocks!
This word is more and more often used. But what’s hiding behind it? Do you know why you are actually procrastinating? What can you procrastinate?
It’s sometimes hard to nail it. For example, I just procrastinated writing this post. I had to do it, but as soon as I sat at my desk, I remembered that I completely forgot to order my son’s new uniforms. I had to do it immediately so that I can check it from my to-do list. This simple action was not a pleasure for me, but writing my post was more urgent though these polos are for September 2018! More difficult too, selecting a product we already know is far easier than creating something new.
So, although I wasn’t doing something I was really enjoying, I still was procrastinating as I was prioritizing something that could clearly wait instead of something needed today. Unfortunately, I realized that only after I finished doing my order. When I remembered I had a post to write!
You are procrastinating when you are doing something you could not do instead of something you must do. Everybody is procrastinating from time to time, but some have become masters in the art of procrastination.
Why procrastination is bad for you
Now what you should know is that procrastinating is unhealthy! Many side effects are emanating from this terrible habit.
Let’s name the most important ones:
- Low self-esteem: yes, when you postpone your must-do tasks, you are lowering your self-esteem. This is not good at all! By doing so, you unconsciously teach your mind that you are worthless or not good enough, and you certainly do not want that. Most of all you do not need that at all.
- Exhaustion: when you don’t get rid of your to-do list or your daily tasks, you are cluttering your brain with all these undone things you keep for one day to another. Mental clutter has many repercussions, but the most visible one is the difficulty to sleep!
- Anxiety: of course, the second repercussion of mental clutter is anxiety. When you don’t sleep properly, your mind has difficulties to manage your emotions.
- You are damaging your professional life: by not working on your priorities first you are losing precious time in your work, and a lot of credibility and accountability. This can go far is you are an employee, but this is really dangerous if you are self-employed!
- You are also damaging your family life: no one is grumpier than someone who is not proud of what they accomplish. You won’t be a good company for your loved ones if you keep not doing what you should be doing.
These side effects are just the more important ones, and I could go on and on naming everything that is damaged in your life while you keep procrastinating.
Understand why you are procrastinating on usual situations
Of course, there are many ways to defeat procrastination, but I believe in tackling the problem at source. There is a reason why you are procrastinating on something. You must pinpoint the problem first and then fight it.
If it’s a usual action, chances are you are just lazy. If you don’t do something you are used to, you have no fear hidden behind the whole process. You are just in the mood of not wanting to make your brain work for now. In that case, the best solution is to use Mel Robbins “5 seconds rule”. In four words: “DO IT RIGHT NOW.” Don’t think, don’t wait, just do it!
Another reason why you are not doing something usual, and believe me that one is very important to me, is that you are bored. I can get bored of doing something and move from mastering it to not doing at all anymore in one single day. My solution is simple: change your way of doing these things. Find something different to use, a different time, a different place. Learn to rest, don’t quit.
Understand why you are procrastinating on new situations
I already mentioned mental clutter at the beginning of this post. Now, this is how you can start deep cleaning your memories in order to improve your mental health and your professional life.
Now, there is another kind of procrastination, and this one is trickier: you delay doing something new. Most of the time there is a good reason sneaking in your brain somewhere. A good reason you certainly don’t acknowledge at first. Your job is to understand the why. When you find the “why”, you’ll work on beating this procrastination far more efficiently and rapidly.
I can’t go far into explaining how to find the “why” but, mainly, search a past pain, fear or habit you had in the past. Going back at it will tell you why you delay. It can be your parents repeating some ideas again and again when you were a child and creating a block in your mind. This block you have, you even don’t remember where it comes from. It can be a bad experience, and you think that recreating the same kind of situation is going to have the same painful results. Or, it can be that you are afraid of something just because you never tried, you think you are shy, not capable, whatsoever.
How to work on your blocks
It can take several attempts, or sometimes few days or weeks thinking and not thinking about your blocks before you understand what’s happening. Be patients, but work on it. Take a notebook, write about memories from your childhood with your family, friends, at school. Then write about all the memories that can relate to your block regarding your professional life. Review your love life too. Sometimes a bad relationship is triggering so strong memories that we want to avoid thinking about them, but it’s not the way to solve your problem.
When you nail something strong, use Denise Duffield-Thomas “tap and forgive”. In other words, I strongly advise to try the EFT method in order to change your mindset, then forgive whoever is involved, and forget for good.
Why should you forgive someone who hurt you? Well, that’s very simple: if you have anger for someone, you are in pain, they don’t. They are just living a happy life, while you are procrastination and damaging your life by remaining stuck on useless thoughts. Forgive so that you can be at peace, and move on.
If you want to read more about how to improve your personal and professional life:
Mental health is also important to consider as long as you want to be more efficient and clear on your goals: