Procrastinate? Who Me? I’ll Get Back To You About This Tomorrow!

Wonder why you keep putting off doing things? What or who do you blame? Here we explore the procrastinator-perfection-paralysis syndrome. Hey, you wonder what is procrastination anyway. It really comes down to one ugly underlying habit: people-pleasing. Here’s how to stop.

Dear Dr. Sylvia, 

It took me weeks to finally press the “send” button on my email to you with my dilemma. This is embarrassing for me to admit out loud.

As a result, I want to be totally honest.

Therefore, here’s a truth I have been ignoring for way too long.

What is procrastination, and what does it do to you?

Above all, I know I am a procrastinator and I hate it.  

Moreover, It’s like an addiction.

In addition, whenever I say “I’ll have it done today” it turns into another day and another day…

Further, I go into overwhelm and have so much self-doubt it’s killing me.

And then that darn inner critic starts to tell me what a jerk I am.

Most importantly, I’m in the self-destructive cycle of judging and then running to its twin sister known as SHAME.

In addition, how to stop procrastinating is my main goal.

Procrastination at work.

My team at work looks at me with unsaid nasty thoughts. Now fear is screaming in my ears “Watch out or you will be fired.”

Yea gods!

Help,

Signed,

Never Good Enough

Procrastinators are a dime a dozen all over the world. 

Dear Never Good Enough,

I really like your middle name. Maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

In other words, I’m hoping you have the tenacity to change and take your middle name as your first name.

Most importantly, please, rest assured, you are NOT alone.   

Know that You are NOT lazy. 

Remember that You are NOT broken. 

Understand that You are simply CAUGHT in a whirlpool of stress and anxiety. It’s a trap you can get out of.  

Certainly, you can un-trap yourself. 

Why You Procrastinate: The Perfectionism/Paralysis Trap 

Above all, procrastination begins with analysis paralysis.  

For instance, did you ever think that you may simply think too much?  

In addition, I bet you analyze everything you do. I wonder if you ever just take a deep breath and do IT (whatever the IT is).

Most procrastinators want to be perfect. In other words, procrastinators want to be perfecty perfct while the rest of us can be perfectly imperfect.

To sum up, here are 7 ways to get out of your dilemma. 

Lower the Bar

Stop thinking in terms of awards and medals. Start thinking in terms of helping the team. See your team and your work more as a relay race rather than a solo marathon. Get your part done, even if it isn’t perfect, and go from there. It can be polished with the help of others. You win when you all work together. 

Chunk It.

Make an outline and have a checklist. Once you have that, you can start and stop and then start again. Feel the relief when you cross something off the list. Then get to what’s next rather than pressuring yourself to have it all done in a single sitting. Ever heard of the Pomodoro technique?

Get an accountability coach

Get an accountability coach. One way is to have a friend or colleague there to cheer you on. Another way is to get a personal coach who helps you stay on track. Just make sure it is someone who is a positive cheerleader in the “you can do it” way. 

Say NO.

Here’s how to stop procrastinating. Please remember that “NO” is a complete sentence (here’s how to use it). Too often, procrastinators and perfectionists want to stop what they are doing by helping someone else. That’s a mind trick to keep you from completing your own projects.

Look back.

Most often, the desire to be perfect comes from a desire to please others and get acknowledgement. Many times, this behavior started when you were young and looking for praise from a parent, caretaker, or teacher. Want to know the pyschological reasons why you procrastinate? Read more about this in my book Don’t Bring It to Work (especially pages 73-74)

Practice mindfulness.

You can take a meditation break for 20 minutes. Or take a walk. Maybe even get a big glass of water and sip it slowly. While youb drink, focus on the smooth, silky liquid going into your mouth and sliding down your throat. Then, get back to work. Give yourself a reward. When you complete a part of your project, stop and give yourself something that makes you happy. It could be to call a friend, a favorite snack, singing some fun songs, or playing with the dog. This is the reinforcement you need to keep going.  

Decide to Do (and BE) “Good Enough.”

Once you know why you procrastinate, you can break down the walls you have built.  

It will, however, be very much like strength training at the gym. It takes determination and the use of emotional muscles that have gone soft from inactivity. 

No excuses, no ignoring, no blaming, no–none of that!

Visualizing can help. Use imagery to see yourself as content and relaxed rather than dissatisfied and anxious. 

In conclusion, decide that your projects will make you proud, not perfect. Let them be good enough. Then you can change your name  from  Never Good Enough to “Perfectly Imperfect.” 

Here’s to your success, 

Sylvia 

P.S. Join our 7-day Sanity Challenge (which takes about 10 minutes a day). It’s fun and will give you some more ways to break free from the stress of the” procrastination-perfection- paralysis” cycle.   

You will be free to be the best you possible. Ahhhhh, to be free to be you and me without qualifiers sounds so good. 

Sylvia Lafair

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