pro cras ti na tion
the action of delaying or postponing something
I’ve been reading, “the now habit”, in it is a concept that I had never thought of before. That’s, that Procrastination is a tool. It’s a tool that serves an evolutionary purpose to save our self-worth. Procrastination pops-up when we’ve put our self-worth on the line for any task or job that’s in front of us. We should embrace the fact that it’s a tool and use it to snuff out negative talk that keeps us from making progress in our lives. Don’t ignore procrastination, instead identify what’s triggering it and come up with a solution to eliminate it.
Let’s just say we have a project due in a month and with this project we attach a lot of our self-worth to it. We want it to be Perfect because in our heads we believe it’s going to reflect our self-worth. With us elevating the stakes for ourselves we give procrastination the ability to slide in. Week one, we don’t make much of an effort to work on it. Maybe we’re working it out in our head, crafting the structure to make this project perfect. Or maybe we just tell ourselves four weeks is a little excessive, we could get it done in like two weeks. Week two rolls around and we feel bad about our lack of progress in week one. We start to work on it for a little bit, doing some of the low impact tasks that are required of the project but staying clear of the bigger pieces because we haven’t become sure of how to perfect that yet. Overall week two we didn’t get much done we just created some busy work to trick ourselves into thinking we made some progress, but what we did work on has very little impact on our end goal. Week three comes, now we’re two weeks out and last week we didn’t do much because we just worked on some of the easier stuff. Now we’re starting to feel the pressure because now we only have two weeks. This anxiety leaves us paralyzed and scatter brained on where to actually start, so we keep starting and stopping never really getting anywhere. Week four is here and we’re sweating. Project is now three days out and now we don’t care where we start and we’ve thrown away the concept of perfect to allow us to just get it done. We just start doing any and everything to get this thing done so we have something to turn in. It may have been stressful and the project may only be hovering around mediocre, but hey we only had three days to finish a month long project, so that looks pretty good. At least that’s how we justified our actions.
We effectively have given ourselves the ability to reason why the project we turned in is sub-par and not only that we’ve put the blame off of ourselves and onto the fact we only had a limited time to work on the project. Thus being able to save our self-worth and protect our perfectionism. As powerful as this tool is, you can also see that this behavior is also very dangerous. If we keep playing this scenario out for every aspect of our lives that feels too difficult, we’ll never make any progress. We’ll stay stuck in our safe zone. To break that habit we need to give ourselves a safety net, because that’s all we use procrastination for is a safety net. We need to be able to tell ourselves and believe that no matter the mistake or how imperfect a project, we will learn, we will grow, we will fix, and we will bounce back from anything. Because our self-worth is not determined by what others say we are capable of, our self-worth is instead determined one-hundred percent by ourselves. We just need to get better at talking to ourselves and telling ourselves it’s ok to be human and make errors, we will learn, grow and move on.
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