How do you define procrastinate? If you tend to procrastinate, you must remember that whatever it is, it is really just a label. Isn't a definition of you ... So no, you do not have to define yourself as a "procrastinator." The reality is that you are a person and it may just happen that you have a habit of putting things off. I wonder, how did you happen to apply that label to yourself? Did someone once tell you that is what or who you are?
"No one had to tell me! I just know it! and it feels like there is no escape!" Do you know what you want to do? and how good it will feel when it is done? And do you know in your brain that it really isn't that hard to do? With all that knowledge, do you still up off doing things until the last minute? and then do you beat yourself up for being lazy? or disorganized? or overwhelmed?
It seems like we can't even enjoy an afternoon in our garden with the children or a friendly neighbor because we have an habitual internal dialogue spinning in our heads that sounds like this
"I am accomplishing something here with my kids - setting vegetable and saving money on food, adding value to my property, spending time with the kids, creating a network in the community - but geeze! there are so many other things I need to do! I want to enjoy this work .... or is it play? I sure could enjoy it, but it feels like I'm stalling on the work I really SHOULD be getting done! Maybe I'm just lazy! Why oh why do I always procrastinate?"
"But... but... but, I am NOT LAZY!" you say with frustration, and you are right! Who told you that you are lazy?
But, aren't all procrastinators lazy? Stop right there! I've dealt with procrastination label most of my life, and there is no way I'm lazy! And I'll bet you're not either, so quit beating yourself up over that. It is true that some who carry that label might be lazy, but we're not talking about that kind of procrastination. Let's dispel the laziness myth right now. We need to start the process of escaping the effects by looking at a definition of procrastination.
Procrastinate is a verb (I know, "procrastinator" is a noun, but remember, it is just a label! it isn't actually what or who you are!) In psychological terms, and according to most standard dictionaries, it means postponing or delaying tasks, behaving in such a way that you replace high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority .... putting off the more important things to a later time. If you were the lazy type of procrastinator, you wouldn't be accomplishing all those lower-priority tasks that really do need to get done too! No... there is something going on there besides laziness. We'll dig into what causes of procrastination on another page of Positive-Changes-Coach.com
Meanwhile, who better to define procrastination than people who have dealt with it in their lives? I think the following procrastinator quotes are excellent definitions of the label.
Napolean Hill Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.
Don Marquis Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
Charles R. SwindollThe habit of always putting off an experience until you can afford it, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest burglars of joy.
Is it really just a "habit?" Notice that those procrastination quotes talk about a habit. If you have the habit, it has probably put you in a world of overwhelm, feeling pressured, afraid of failure. Maybe you thing you should define procrastinate as your failure to "try harder," or "work smarter," or "be more persistent." If that is the case you are probably starting to feel resentful and angry with yourself or maybe find yourself blaming others, or feeling like a victim of circumstances.
Procrastinating starts with the pressure we put on ourselves to make things happen despite the feeling of overwhelm that seems never-ending and the pressure never really releases unless we figure out a way to do something about it.
Most of the time, our habit of procrastination started out as a way to cope with the anxiety and fear we feel over starting (or finishing) a task. Lots of times it is a result of Perfectionism and the fear that the outcome won't be up to our own or someone else's standard. Maybe we are afraid "it won't be good enough," or "they might not like it." Maybe we are afraid it will be fantastic! Some of us actually have a fear of success!
Sometimes it is a result of ineffective goal-setting. Maybe we just haven't learned the skills we need to manage our time. Maybe it is a result of our enthusiasm for so many different kinds of projects and our "yes, I can do that!" mentality.
There are lots of reasons that we develop the habit of putting things off. But all of us fall into several of 6 categories of causes of procrastination; and all are related to and actually describe our thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.
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