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How procrastination can become a block to change

I saw a client recently who had a number of big, life decisions to make. She beat herself up that she was "no good at making decisions" and her family and friends reinforced this idea by telling her the same thing. The client had a procrastination issue around decision-making.

Girl balancing on barrier contemplating her goals

Many people procrastinate on tasks they need to do or decisions they need to take and spend their time doing something they are more motivated to do. However, they may, as my client found, beat themselves up about not taking action.

Beating yourself up for not doing a task or taking a decision will negatively affect you. It creates unnecessary stress and chronic procrastination is associated with depression, guilt, irrational thinking, low self-esteem and anxiety.

There are always good reasons why someone will avoid taking on a task or decision. Understanding these reasons is the first step to finding a way forward and making positive change in your life. Look at the list below and see if any apply to you:

  1. Lack of relevance: if you don't think something is relevant to you, you'll find it hard to be motivated to do it
  2. Perfectionism: you don't complete a task because you'd rather not do it, than do it and fail to reach your own high standards
  3. Ambiguity: You're not sure what's expected of you.
  4. Evaluation anxiety: You may not do a task because you've no control over how others evaluate it.
  5. Accepting others' goals: You take on something that is really for someone else and doesn't interest you. You won't have much motivation for such a task.
  6. Inability to handle the task: you don't currently have the skills or training to do this task or take this decision. Or perhaps you doubt your emotional resources.
  7. Fearing the unknown: you may procrastinate because you don't know how well you'll perform.

The way you procrastinate may take one of many forms. You may

  1. ignore the task
  2. overestimate the work involved
  3. tell themselves that small delays don't matter
  4. be paralysed by the variety of choices available
  5. persevere on a small part of the task only
  6. kid yourself on by starting another activity you believe is worth doing
  7. dramatise the commitment to the task
  8. or just stay in a state of readiness, without really doing anything! 

Now you understand why you procrastinate, do you see the situation differently? Does it still create stress in you to know you've been putting it off? Or do you see an opportunity to address your own block and take action?

Coaching can help you address procrastination in a number of ways. By working on your values, we can understand what your priorities are. You'll be motivated to work on the tasks and decisions that move you towards your goals. We can work on time management skills, by helping you work out what is REALLY urgent and important in your to-do list. Also, by addressing how you think about tasks, we can work on improving how you see situations by using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

If you'd like to address your procrastination issues, please click the button below and I'll get you booked in for an appointment.