This is a theme that keeps coming back to me, both personally and professionally… It’s what I’ve done with this blog all week….
It’s real easy to say it’s not a big deal and just a minor bad habit; I’ve found ways to work around it before and usually it turn out okay. Which is true, kind of.
It’s real easy to get stuck in this cycle of putting things off and then wait until that moment of sheer terror when I may miss out on an opportunity entirely, miss that deadline, or really let down someone I care about. Sometimes the moment doesn’t come until after the fact when the crisis (big or small) has already hit.
A few things happen with this is the case.
1. We end up feeling more overwhelmed than I need to (more problems for ourselves)
I’m constantly surprised both in my life and when I talk to people how easy it is to overlook the negative (addictive) behavior like procrastination have on ourselves. It’s like we will refuse to have any awareness of how depressed or anxious we are until we end up letting others down. If you notice this it’s a sign you might struggle with self- esteem - because look at your behavior - you are treating yourself like crap. I always wonder, would these patterns change if we realized how much we actually hold ourselves back? If we even had a slight idea of our potential, would we have the motivation we need to push through that discomfort?
2. We end up putting more tension on relationships than we need to (more problems for others)
Ever done this one??? You are leaving the house a bit later than you planned and you are going to meet some friends. You shoot them a text saying: “Hey I’m running about 10 minutes late.” But that’s not true! You are running about 20. You just felt bad saying 20 minutes late you tried to soften it with your mind telling you, you can come up with another excuse (traffic or something, big accident, yeah it was a bad one) on the way there. As you are driving and watch the minutes tick away YOU have more anxiety coming on as you think of your friends waiting for you to show up. It’s around this point you start thinking: “I should have just told them 20 minutes late in the first place”.
I’ve been on both ends of that one and it just leaves me feeling more annoyed that the person didn’t just let me know the actual situation in the first place.
Okay and for all you perfectionists out there who have NEVER done any of this, let me just set the record straight. Perfectionism is a form of procrastination too. You just do it in bigger and better ways. You get so wrapped up in getting all A’s you don’t realize the relationships you are avoiding. People even start lucrative and successful careers that are based on some subconscious level around avoiding connection and vulnerability. “I’ll learn how to connect with my wife one day, but this next deal is REALLY important.” We can put of making big decisions, having big conversations and come up with lots of really legit ways of avoiding them.
I once heard an instructor at a training I attended say, “Have you ever noticed when people get ready to make a decision that is hard or face something they don’t want to face, they sign up for another training or degree program?” Nailed everyone there.
Sorry, it still fall under the procrastination umbrella.
3. Lastly, we lose our ability to feel pain or discomfort
Procrastination taken to it highest level is called ADDICTION. I don’t want to feel shame. I’m done dealing with the anxiety around all I have to do. I’m checking out. And I’ll find the way to do it that best suits me: using drugs, fantasy football, internet porn, building your business, trying to help and encourage someone else, Netflix, starting a fight, sleeping in, masturbating, cleaning the house, eating, not eating, exercise, beer, throwing my religion in others face, ya know the usual stuff….. We’ve gotten real good at finding ways to avoid the important stuff.
The question I always encourage you to ask of yourself as it promotes increased self-awareness and always leads to growth is WHY??? Why do you do this? You might know the answer right away or it might take some digging but it’s so important to know what it is you are trying to avoid so you can change it. If you deal with the issue you are facing does it mean you will have to address other areas that are painful and scary? Does it mean you will have to grow up and growing up means being responsible and that’s not me…
This rabbit hole tends to take us back to some pretty core issues but I find that when we face them, they become much less painful, even if we can’t fix the problem right away. This line of questioning compels us to connect with others, to connect with ourselves, and when these things happen I’ve only seen good come out of it.
For a hilarious summary of all this stuff check out ZeFrank’s video blog on it here:
What about you? Do you have any thoughts on this? What are your favorite ways of avoiding the things you know are important? Head over the my FACEBOOK page and let me know.