Procrastination can lead to broader scale stagnant energy.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. We all have at least one, the task we’ve been postponing because we simply don’t want to do it. We know we should, we understand the benefits of having it completed, but somehow we never get around to it.
Likely we’re also harboring some level of guilt and frustration with ourselves for simply not taking the initiative to get it done. We’re stuck, mad at ourselves, and the dreaded item persists on our mental, if not written or electronic, to-do list.
The effects of this procrastination are more pervasive than we might realize. We carry ongoing judgment about ourselves—we’re not dynamic, capable, smart, strong, energetic, or good enough—that can be self-fulfilling. We tend to be what we believe we are, behaving accordingly. The weight of negativity trips us up. taking us in a loop of self-criticism and doubt. How can we avoid this dance of self-denigration?
It helps to be honest with ourselves about the real effects of our postponement. Is this something we truly need to act on? Is there a potential larger financial loss or serious health impact? Will another be harmed or hurt by our delay? If yes, we’d best either take action quickly, get help from friends or family very soon, or, if finances permit, hire someone now to help us get the item take care of now.
Most of our procrastination won’t fall into this urgent, high-stakes category. Our delayed items are usually things we feel we should do. There probably won’t be a serious impact to having them undone for quite some time, if ever. When this is the case, we can give ourselves permission to pause the task.
It’s a subtle distinction, procrastinate versus pause, but significant to our self-image. When we procrastinate, perhaps subconsciously, we feel bad about ourselves. When we choose to pause an activity, we make a conscious and reasoned decision to delay and can feel positive about it. Reviewing and deciding prevents us from judging ourselves as wanting.
If we have a type A personality, we may wish to give ourselves a deadline, at which time we can act, pause again, or even determine that the task can be dropped altogether.
Today’s message reminds me to create a paused task list. It will help me feel good about myself and keep my focus and energy on the important or time-sensitive things I need to accomplish in the short term. In this way, I stop shoulding on myself.
How about you? What’s your relationship with procrastination?