You have a ton of things to do to get ready for the holidays. Yet you put things off. You find yourself reading, watching TV and playing games on the computer. Then the stress builds, you start the negative self talk. "I should be accomplishing more. What am I going to do if I don't get it done?" Then comes the last minute scramble... shopping on Christmas Eve... wrapping presents until 2 am... the tension builds until you are too tired to enjoy Christmas. The aftermath includes mentally beating yourself up and promising that you'll never do that again!
Procrastination is the thorn in our sides, the burr under the saddle and the pea under the mattress. It can be persistent, annoying and a bad habit. Some people make procrastination a huge part of their lives as a daily battle, and others find it occasionally getting in their way, like at the holidays. You might call yourself lazy, but is it really laziness? I don't think so. I believe it is a deeper issue and has many components to it.
So what drives us to procrastinate if it isn't laziness? Procrastination is driven by perceived internal and external motivators. Perceived internal motivators are thoughts, feelings, and beliefs we create or perceive within our own minds. These include feeling inadequate (in intelligence, know-how, attention span, family role), experiencing apprehension and fear, having a mind that gets distracted easily, a need for gratification, a feeling of powerlessness, and experiencing a lack of control.
Procrastination is also driven by external motivators which are things that are outside of us and not always in our control. They include having inadequate resources (car, education, tools, technology, time), health issues, financial issues, legal problems, other people who influence our behavior or decisions, and obligations we have to others.
Believe it or not there are also procrastination styles! We have the Perfectionist Procrastinator who is reluctant to start or finish a task because they don't want to produce anything less than perfect. They tend to be self critical and all or nothing at all thinkers. "I should" or "I have to" are big in their vocabulary.
We have the Dreamer Procrastinator who doesn't like details which make implementation of tasks difficult. They are passive, fanciful and vague and have "I wish" on the tip of their tongue.
We have the Worrier Procrastinator who has a huge need for security so they fear risk and change causing them to avoid finishing projects. They are fearful, indecisive, cautious and are concerned with "what if?".
We have the Deifier Procrastinator who is the rebel that bucks the rules. They set their own path that no one can predict or control. They are passive-aggressive, resistant, oppositional and non-conformists. Their most powerful thought is "Why should I?"
Then we have the Crisis Maker Procrastinator who is addicted to the adrenaline rush of living on the edge. They tend to be over emotional, dramatic and need attention. You might hear them exclaim "Unbelievable!"
Finally we have the Over Doer Procrastinator who is unable or unwilling to make choices and priorities so they say yes to everything. They feel compelled to keep super busy, are self reliant do-it-alls and can't say no.
It is a cop out to call someone lazy or to consider yourself lazy and accept procrastination in your life. You won't like the end result which is anxiety, stress, and unhappiness. As you can see, the issues are not always conscious ones. The procrastination driving motivators and issues lurk within our inner subconscious minds and need to be rooted out and resolved. The best tool to beat procrastination is hypnotherapy, a process of 'turning inward', learning about your personal blocks and sabotage, and finding that you are completely capable of overcoming them!
When you catch yourself procrastinating at the holidays or anytime, think about possible internal or external motivations. Decide what procrastination style(s) you exhibit. Understanding your behavior is the first step to resolving it. You are capable of learning and adopting new ways of thinking which translates into less procrastination with new ways of organizing your life. The resulting relief allows you to enjoy, feel free and be on top of your "to do's". So STOP calling yourself lazy!
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