While reading a book recently, a particular section really caught my eye. It challenged the idea that procrastination is “lazy” – suggesting instead that is is fear holding the person back.
Procrastination is something that a lot of people do – it’s a common experience to the point where there are huge numbers of jokes and memes on the internet (surely humankind’s greatest procrastination tool!) about it.
However, I thought the book made a really good point. When you find yourself avoiding or holding back from doing something you know you need or want to do, it can be very useful to ask yourself why. If you do start the task, what is it you think (or fear) might happen? What will starting, working through, completing the task mean to you?
The book went on to explain the model of procrastination as a form of perfectionism and fear of failure – after all, if you don’t even start a task then you won’t risk not doing as well as you had hoped or wanted to. The pressure to produce something brilliant, wonderful, perfect first time can cause a paralysing fear… and procrastination.
The links above might help you work out what is causing your procrastination – and then you might feel more able to tackle it. Tools such as breaking a task down into a series of goals or to-dos might help make a task seem much more manageable.
The other side of the coin is that it may not be fear of failure that is holding you back, it may also be fear of success. What might success mean to you? What do you fear it might mean to the people around you?
If you can understand where your resistance is coming from, you might find it much easier to confront and tackle it. Counselling can help with these feelings of stuckness if you want to explore them therapeutically.