Procrastination is one of the most all-consuming states of being that interferes with our general well-being.  The feeling that tasks need to be done or more challengingly ‘should’ be done.  The word should is always a flag raiser for me and I will come onto that a bit later.

Why delay tasks that need to be done?

There are as you can imagine multiple reasons why we delay tasks that need to be done and it is important to be completely honest with yourself as to why this is happening in order to deal with the procrastination.  There are multiple reasons ranging from boredom, to lack of confidence, to not seeing the reason why it needs to be done, to not liking the people involved and so on.

Honesty is the first port of call.  

Confidence is perhaps the most cited in procrastination, lack of confidence with the task and being able to do it well.  If this is the case and it is a work scenario then consider additional training or a refresher as to how to perform the task.  Consider what your feedback actually is?  Is your lack of confidence with the task justified and evidenced by that feedback? Or perhaps not. In which case maybe your worries are unfounded.

Boredom is also a frequent source and reason for procrastinating.  How can you make it more interesting?  Is there an element of challenge that you can put into it for yourself?  Can you do it quicker than last time or with fewer corrections?  Is there some reward that you can give yourself for completing it?  Is this a case of doing it as soon as it arises in order to get it out of the way as quickly as possible?  Can this be a challenge and reward you set yourself?

This aspect of doing something sooner rather than later is a worthwhile one to consider.  When you think of all of the head space that procrastination over a task may take up, think how much more time for other things you will have having completed it sooner rather than later.  Lots of head space.

The people involved is another one often cited, having to deal with individuals whom are disliked.  Unfortunately with this reason for procrastination, the only changes you can make are to your own internal skills and thought processes.  Other people will not change although at some point their role may change and move on.  When other people are involved then it may be a matter of communication skills and what you can think, say and do in order to help improve the task.  There may be nothing else that you can do, in which case the idea of tackling the task sooner rather than later is valid as it frees up time and head space without having to think of the people involved.

Now consider what are you saying to yourself when the feeling of procrastination comes on?  Is the word ‘should’ involved?

The ‘Should’ Word

The word ‘should’ is a real indicator of other things going on.  The word ‘should’ usually relates to ‘others’ and their rules of how we ‘should’ be behaving and it also relates to the beliefs that we hold about what we think ‘others’ are thinking and behaving.  In other words we hold a belief that ‘others’ think I ‘should’ be doing X.

It’s complex but well worth pinning down the ‘should’s and where they come from.  As soon as we have identified the ‘should’s we can then begin to take a much more considered look at what it is we are trying to achieve and whether ultimately it serves us in the best way possible.

Am I doing this thing X because I need/have to in order for my life to run smoothly or am I doing this thing X because I believe I should?

Very different circumstances and most likely, when procrastination is involved it is to do with other people’s shoulds.  Taking a logical and cold hard look at those things can help you to re-calibrate some aspect of the task and even delete it completely from your life as it is not something that is in align with the person you are and the lifestyle that you want.

Similarly identifying the ‘should’ from someone else can help you to accept that this task is something worthwhile doing for yourself and not because someone else says so!  Either result will eliminate the procrastination.

For more help with overcoming procrastination and understanding the ‘should’s in your life please contact me for a confidential chat about how.

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