Procrastination – Getting caught between good intentions and actions
According to Tim Pychal (author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle “We have a brain that is selected for preferring immediate award. Procrastination is the present-self saying I would rather feel good now. So we delay engagement even though it’s going to bite us on the butt”
How many times as a student, in a work situation, at home in regards to DIY or chores have we made good intentions only to delay the action of following them through. Quite often / very often most probably. How is it we may have a feeling looking ahead into the future of “I am going to make a real good job of said task over the weekend when I have time” then come the weekend when you have time for said task “actually I will just watch this You Tube video, then I will start, actually I will make a coffee then watch me go, then whilst having the coffee start another YouTube video" then round and round we go.
This is Procrastination where there is the will but something is stopping the way.
According to numerous researcher’s Procrastination is a growing issue within modern society. In two large studies conducted by DePaul University professor Joseph Ferrari – “Procrastination is impulsivity winning out over future rewards. This is probably why it’s on the increase. Our modern world has limitless distractions: a plethora of TV channels, electronic games and Internet temptations”.
This is a very understandable reason as to why Procrastination is on the rise, and why people are coming up against the issue in modern society. Even if you are finding this blog interesting (and I hope you are J) what would you do if you heard that familiar buzz from your phone that alerts you to a Whatsapp group message. Chances are that you pick up the phone and check it. Is it then to alert you of a subject that interests you, do you then go straight to Google and further take a look into the afore mentioned subject..... it goes on and on and round and round.
Are there situations where Procrastination is actually pleasurable? Some people may say so, but can it possible do us any good... probably not. These people may claim that they thrive under the pressure of leaving tasks to the last minute and may claim this is where they perform their best. However this is most probably a sense of false confidence, or an excuse for under confidence in putting back the task but not willing to admit it.
When it comes to confidence and performance there are three main types I read about in the book Zen Golf by Joseph Parent and adapted for the subject of Procrastination:
False Confidence – This is talking big and kidding ourselves. Often False Confidence is a way of trying to impress others into thinking we are better than we are. “I thrive under pressure, don’t worry I can do this at the last minute as this is when I perform my best”. Basically someone is not admitting they feel they will struggle to do something but will Procrastinate so others do not see this weakness.
Conditional Confidence – This depends usually on recent results or successes. When things are going well then we will start and continue with the task, however if there is a bump in the road or things start going badly stop what we are doing and then Procrastinate in getting back on task. “I started to write my book because I had a really good idea, things were going well and then I got writers block”.
Unconditional Confidence – This arises from our basic goodness. There is believe in the ability to do a task but also an acceptance it may not be perfect. With Unconditional Confidence we believe in ourselves as decent people and in our level of ability to complete a task, however this does not mean we expect every task to be done perfectly. “I wanted to try make a cheesecake today, I am a pretty good cook. I did it it’s come out not perfect but pretty good for a first attempt. I am happy with that”.
Psychologist Piers Steel of the University of Calgary spoke of an environment of Procrastination “You couldn’t think of a worse working environment if you tried”. He also from a review of 553 studies of Procrastination concluded it has four related variables regarding the task:
- As spoke about previously your confidence to do the task. Therefore the more confident you are the less you will delay.
- It’s value to you. How much it means to you and also how much fun it will be.
- Your need for immediate gratification and sensitivity for delay. This considers how much time will pass before you are rewarded for completing the task. You are more likely to complete a task now if you know you will see a result in a short time, with more likelihood on delaying if the reward comes much later.
- Impulsiveness. This is determined by your levels of distraction. The more distracted you are the more likely you are to Procrastinate.
Steel created a formula to predict your Procrastination likelihood:
“Your confidence multiplied by the task's importance and fun, divided by how badly you need the reward for finishing it, multiplied by how easily distractible you are”
Below are some tips to help overcome Procrastination:
- Don’t overpromise – take on the tasks where you feel you have the time, knowledge and confidence to deal with.
- Create a timetable and share this with another person to create a sense of accountability.
- Live in the Now and forgive yourself the Procrastination of the past. You can’t effect the past but you can affect the future.
- Minimise distractions. Set yourself up in an environment away from televisions, phones, access to Social Media and Internet.
- Manage your internal chatter and self talk. Be firm with yourself to start at the time you planned to start something.
- Remind yourself of why you have chosen to do something, and what goal will completing the task achieved.
- Reward yourself. Even if this is just an internal well done.
Procrastination is often believed to be a product of Perfection, Fear of Failure and Rebellion against Parents or similar figures from Childhood that person has not outgrown. One of the believes of an Emotional Alchemist is that almost everyone is born pure and an event happens in someone’s life it can be an initial trigger of a condition such as Procrastination that over time becomes and emotional blockage and blocks the energies we have to function as we would like and as close to 100% as possible.
Often when an episode of Procrastination comes over us we may get a feeling in our body. This could be the aching of feet, a picture in our heads or a knotting of the stomach. These are often the signs of Emotional Blockages.
Guided Mind Clearance is an effective method using Guided Meditation, Visualisation and Emotional Alchemy to remove the feelings associated with Procrastination and clear Emotional Blockages to remove these feelings and help relieve Procrastination so we can perform at our best and therefore feel at our best and be the happy souls nature intended.
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