The official definition of procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something.
We all procrastinate at some level. Procrastination is human nature. There are a number of forms of procrastination, but the most common form is based on emotions and feelings. Feelings like, fear of the unknown, boredom, laziness (sorry), resentment, being overwhelmed, and lack of confidence are just a small subset of the many reasons why we 'feel' we need to procrastinate.
The second most common form of procrastination is intuition based. Intuition based procrastination can be a good thing. It's our body telling us that this dream or opportunity may not be the best thing for us at this time and we should wait it out. It also could tell us that we should not proceed for valid reasons. But there is always a chance our intuition could say 'yes', let's do it. Our intuition tries to help guide us and keep us safe.
Yes, procrastinating is part of human nature but we have to figure out if it is helping us or hurting us. We need to evaluate whether the procrastination is based on feelings and emotions or its our intuition talking.
Procrastination can prevent you from living your best life.
Procrastination usually falls into three types:
Necessity Tasks - These include mundane tasks like paying bills, grocery shopping and laundry. How many of us have put off doing laundry for weeks, watching our dirty laundry pile up, because we don't feel like doing it? Maybe we put off paying our bills because we say 'we'll get to it tomorrow'. What about waiting until we are out of food before we go grocery shopping? Maybe we are too tired during the week and during the weekends the stores are too crowded? Procrastination means no clean clothes, bills that are late and no food in the frig. Now we have to wear dirty clothes (or doing laundry last minute and at midnight), pay late fees for our late bills, and either go hungry or pickup fast food on the way home from work. How does that make us feel? Mostly likely stressed and guilty! We have many reasons to put off these tasks but the end result is much worse. Do you know it takes energy to procrastinate? This is energy that could be expended elsewhere. So by choosing YES to procrastination, we are saying yes to added stress and reduced energy. So how is that supporting our best life?
Goals/ Dreams - Are there things that you really want to accomplish in life but they are just existing as a goal or dream on your wish-list? Like going on a dream vacation, starting a non-profit or business, growing your very own organic garden, losing those unwanted pounds or starting an exercise routine? Well? What is stopping you in your tracks from moving forward? Is it time, confidence, a fear of failure, or another feeling? Do you even know? Have you reflected on why that 'something' is still floating around in your mind but has never come to fruition? Procrastination freezes us in time. Some of these goals/dreams are key to living our best life but we don't move forward or backward but stay status quo. If the procrastination is 'feeling' based then maybe it's time to take that first step.
Procrastination is where our dreams can go to die.
Opportunities - These come into our life at random times. It is something that we may or may not have thought of doing but we may be intrigued by the possibilities. Sometimes we jump on the band wagon and off we go. Other times we tend to overthink and postpone the decision until the opportunity has expired or long gone. When these opportunities arise we need to actually tune into why we are hesitating? Is it feeling based or intuition based. Only you know.
Trust me I understand procrastination. It’s very easy to fall into this mode.
So what do we do then? According to Mel Robbins, author of the Five Second Rule, we all have five seconds to move forward once we are faced with an opportunity, task or goal. If we take longer then that to make a decision it’s most likely not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. The opportunity has been lost. So the key here is hesitation. We need to ask ourselves honestly, why are we hesitating? Is it feeling or intuition based.
There is a difference.
So next time you think of the thing that you SHOULD be doing, take 5 seconds, counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1 (liftoff). Think about how you're really feeling. If what you're really feeling is feeling based, go ahead and get started and stop procrastinating. (I'm saying this with love, compassion and grace.) Find the courage, time, energy, attitude, whatever it takes. If it’s intuition based and your gut is saying no or later than you get a reprieve, for now.
Now go and live your best life!