The dictionary describes procrastination as “the action of delaying or postponing something”.
Often procrastination is the cause of fear; there could be many factors associated with this including:
Fear of failure – starting things and often not completing them because you believe you will fail, so you do not complete the task to avoid defeat.
Fear of success – you want to be successful, but you are afraid of your inability to handle fame or fortune, perhaps you are scared of hard work or even become someone else.
Excessive perfectionism – is another common cause of procrastination. This excessive perfectionism causes procrastination by always putting off tasks until you think you can do it perfectly. In many ways, this is similar to the “fear of failure” concept outlined above, except that instead of believing you cannot succeed at all, you worry that you cannot meet your high standards.
Low energy levels – when you are always feeling tired due to lack of sleep or rest, unhealthy lifestyle or diet, it can also contribute to you putting things off or feeling like you can’t do much.
Lack of focus – you may lack vision and purpose in your life. Unfortunately, when you don’t have a purpose, there is no motivation to set goals or even pursue them.
Regardless of which fear you mostly relate to, both of these are associated with low self-esteem. Fear is an emotion that prevents us from fulfilling our destiny and often paralyses you so you feel stuck and unable to move forward.
There are also countless negative coping responses such as:
- Denial or trivialisation
Procrastination has been linked to some emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, low and self-esteem.
They are so many people who are not living their life to the fullest, as a result of procrastination due to fear.
How to overcome procrastination:
Self-awareness and acceptance
The only way you can change any problem in life is to accept that you have the problem. This is the first step to recovery. We all wear a mask at times and present a false impression to others. We can surely not fool ourselves; if we do this, we are living in denial. This is a very negative emotional prison, as others can see your problem but you refuse to look at it and convince yourself that you don’t have a problem. Self-acceptance empowers you and gives you the freedom to change.
Understanding the root cause
When it comes to breaking any negative habit, it’s essential to understand the cause. Often, most learnt behaviour stems from early childhood experiences. Thinking as far back as possible to your life experience of when you started procrastinating will help you tremendously. Once you know the root cause you can change it.
Facing the fear
Unfortunately we all experience fear from time to time but living your life in constant fear is equal to an emotional prison. There is only one way to deal with fear – feel the fear and do it anyway. There are many types of fears, so it’s crucial to identify the fear and begin to embrace it by doing your research and developing a strategic plan to overcome it. If you are feeling stuck, then you can get help from various professionals including a therapist or coach who will be able to help you.
Discover your purpose in life
Life without direction is empty and can be very unfulfilling. Take time to find out your purpose by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I enjoy doing with my time?
- What would be a fulfilling career or business?
- What are my key strengths?
- What do I want to be remembered for in my life?
- What hobbies or interests could I begin to implement?
- What lifestyle can I create?
- How do I see my best self?
- Am I creating a life that allows me to have financial freedom?
- How much do I want to earn and how am I going to make that?
- What do I want from life?
- Am I living my life to the fullest, if not why and what can I begin to do now?
Goal setting gives you direction in life. Begin by setting clear and measurable goals known as “SMART” goals which mean:
When setting goals, it’s vital to ensure that you write goals somewhere that is visible so you can see it on a daily basis and set a reminder to do one thing each day towards your goals.
Don’t ever give up
You can acquire all the knowledge in the world, but knowledge without action is useless. Avoid things that may distract you so you can be more disciplined. The only way you will achieve the results you desire is by action, action and more action. You must keep trying no matter what. Life is about trying and trying again until you succeed, so never give up.