No, this is NOT a tutorial on how to procrastinate!  But keep reading…

Yesterday we looked at the entire overall premise of procrastination, and today I’d like to touch on the why and how of it.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  There are a plethora of reasons, but ones that come to mind include:

  • The task is unpleasant and we just don’t’ want to do it at all (for example, taxes, cleaning, a visit to the dentist, etc.).
  • We have overcommited our schedules and underestimated our time allotment for chores, appointments and projects, thereby “painting ourselves into a corner”, so we put off certain tasks until a later date.
  • Fear that whatever it is we are deferring won’t happen due to our own inabilities, or even our own lack of worthiness of the success of the task/goal at hand.
  • Physical depletion – we have put way too many things on our to do list and, at the end of the day, our energy levels are so drained that we just don’t have anything more to give.
  • Do any of these resonate with you?  Again, these are but a few…

Beyond the Why are even more answers when we think of the How.  Oh my goodness, it’s limited only by one’s creativity.  Here’s just a smattering of potential How’s:

  • The Tyranny of the Tidy – “That refrigerator just has to get cleaned today, and then there’s the kitchen floor, sink, why, it’s all filthy and I just have to get to it this very instant!”
  • The Dilemma of Distracted Diversion Disruption –  Screens of some kind often play a major role, from the television, to the tablet, to the smartphone, coupled with the ever-present social media siren’s seductive call!
  • The Frenetic Frenzy of Family and Friends – just as you begin your task, someone needs something from you and the next thing you know, a week has passed before you get back to, hmmmm… what was that I was doing again? [Extremely funny fact – as I was writing this blog post, I had no less than four interruptions… seriously.]
  • Let’s face it, if you want to put off doing something, you can always always and always rationalize, validate and explain your way out of doing it.

CALL TO ACTION!!!  (Surprise!)

Take a deep breath, and do this – NOW.  Without personal judgment, criticism or any negative self-talk, think of the last three important things you meant to do.  Take a moment to write them down.  Now, on a scale from 1-10 (one being who cares if it ever really gets done to ten being it is uber-critical), rate those three undone events.  Next, write down the How – what reasons/actions came between you and the execution of the task/goal?  After that, write down the Why – the logic, motive and cause of these undertakings never coming to fruition.

That’s it… just sit with that for awhile.  Think on your answers.  It’s easy to dismiss, because it’s uncomfortable to admit we didn’t succeed, so we don’t take time to dissect the problem in order to discover the answers.  Give yourself time to read over your answers.  Perhaps you’ll have an “ah-hah!” moment that will give you insight into yourself!

Tomorrow, we will consider two driving forces behind behavior – pain and pleasure – and how they specifically relate to procrastination.

Sound like a plan?