We’ve all been there. We have mastered procrastination. We need to get something done and we put it off. We want to do it, but we just can’t make ourselves do it. As a result, we feel lazy, unproductive, or just plain slovenly.
When we procrastinate, we should look at WHY we are procrastinating.
There is more to procrastination than just being lazy. Lazy, as a permanent lifestyle, is not really in our genes. If our ancestors the cave people were lazy, they probably got eaten by a predator. The ones who got up and ran from danger are the ones who survived.
Author James Altucher has a unique way of looking at procrastination.
“Procrastination is your body telling you that you need to back off a bit and think more about what you are doing.”
That is an interesting thought. Why do we REALLY procrastinate? Here are some reasons:
- You are doing work that is not your forte and you need to delegate it.
- You need to think through an idea and improve on it before you take action.
- Your idea or plan is just plain bad or wrong. Therefore, you shouldn’t do it.
- You need to learn something more before you can take action.
- You don’t enjoy it. Can you exchange tasks with someone else?
- You don’t like the client. Can you fix the situation?
- You need to take a mental or physical break first.
- You are a perfectionist. Just get the first step done.
I find myself procrastinating often. I put off a technical task that needs to be done, and I now realize I need to learn more about how to do it. I put off vacuuming because I don’t like to do it. I bought my husband a Swiffer and a Shark vacuum cleaner. He won’t admit it, but I think he secretly loves to use these tools. Problem solved.
I also put off cleaning my windows until they are so dirty I can barely see through them. When I thought about why I don’t just do it, I pictured the task. I need an entire Saturday when it isn’t too hot or too sunny. I need a ladder and buckets, a squeegee, rags and a hose. I need to remove every window and vacuum out the ledges and wash both sides thoroughly and then replace them. That is going to take more than one day. I give up.
My perfectionism is chiming in here. Just get out a spray bottle and clean a window. Some things call for a B or even a C+ effort. It is still far better than a zero, which is what I would get if I do nothing.
When you procrastinate, think about why. Then see if you can find a solution to the problem. It just might help you to get things done.
And if you LOVE washing windows, come on over to my house. Maybe we can exchange tasks.
James Altucher, Chose Yourself, 2013, Create Space Independent Publishing