Prognosticating Procrastination

I wanted to write about Procrastination. You know, the big P word that people have blamed for everything and anything. So many people have written about it…the personal effectiveness people, the Getting-Things-Done camp, the procrastination busters and it makes me wonder if I can offer anything different. So I joined the union.

The Procrastinator United couldn’t take off as a collective force coz I saw the sign when I arrive:

The National Procrastination Day has been postponed…again!!
OK, OK, OK, it’s a weak attempt at a joke although some of you are like me, finding the irony of it all tickling to the bones. For the record, the funny bone has got nothing to do with this.

Dilly-dally, dawdle, drag, delay, daydream, lag, loiter, linger, laze around, mark time, running on the spot, deadlock, hitting the wall, and that looming feeling that the shit is hitting the fan.

That’s crap, yeah.

There are those who don’t start. There are those who start and got stuck. There are those who start too late. There are those who don’t have a clue. There are those who never finish what they have. There are those who get distracted easily. There are those who just don’t care until the fire is burning their collective ass (atypically reframed as “I thrive under pressure” camp). There are those who feel bad about it. There are those who would rather focus on the pleasure of doing something else. There are excuses, re-delegations, denials, and all that jazz.

There’s no stereotype as far as I can see from my coaching practice and consulting work.

The Perfectionist. The Pessimist. The Optimist. The Saboteur. The Self-Saboteur. The poor time manager. The ineffective state manager. The Over-confident. The Victim. The Overwhelmed. The Blue Housefly.

Which one are you?

The task is too big, too detailed, too boring, too exciting, too easy, too demeaning. Too too.

The reward is too small, you are too undeserving, you are too stupid and that too. What’s the big deal?

As far as coaching is concerned, I find I don’t really have to deal with the root cause of procrastination coz focusing on the problem is the problem in the first place. It looks too big for comfort. However, if we focus on generating the behaviour and the attitude required to get things done within an ecological time and space, we are on the home stretch. Go PUBLIC:

  • Presenting Cost (of not doing) and Benefit (of doing now)
  • Underlying attitude required
  • Break it down to bite size chunk (milestone targets)
  • Leveraging on resource available
  • Into Action
  • Create instant gratifications (small rewards for yourself)

Like the old Chinese saying about the element water: That which carries the vessel can also overturn it. We don’t want to slam procrastination coz it is useful. I’ll leave it to my next post for this.

For now, all we need is an awareness of our behavior and belief or value that drives it. If it isn’t useful or appropriate, change it. Non-action is a habit. Check this post out for the importance of awareness and how it can make positive habit-changing or –forming.

Watch out for my next post: Not-now to avoid Not-again.

Update: For those of you who must get a quick-fix to your procrastination. Here’s a tip from your friendly neighborhood Coach: Procrastinate your procrastination!!