- life seems to us an infinite list of obligations that we will never be able to fulfill;
- we are not realistic about time, we are always late, we struggle to realize the time that passes and it takes us to do things;
- we don’t set specific dates to start a project;
- we do not have clear objectives and values;
- we feel dissatisfied, frustrated, depressed;
- we fear to be criticized if we are wrong;
- low self-esteem and assertiveness prevent us from being productive.
To get momentary relief
Procrastination, contrary to popular belief, is not the problem, but the symptom of other difficulties. We procrastinate because we fear that something will threaten our value and our independence; we are afraid of failing and being imperfect, of having to do the impossible, of being overwhelmed.
We completely identify with our work, become ruthless judges of ourselves and take refuge in perfectionism.
Every little mistake is a tragedy because it reminds us of our imperfection, causing us great stress which we simply reduce by procrastinating.
In doing so, we get temporary relief, and then feel even worse, more anxious, depressed, insecure, with even more fear of failure and greater need to procrastinate as a momentary escape.
We learn that procrastination has its meaning and we are ready to start again in this vicious circle until we can replace it with more effective and functional methods for dealing with personal value work.
Procrastination can also be an indirect way to rebel against an authority (when we feel victimized), or a way to protect ourselves from the fear of success (sometimes it can be as frightening as failure, because it can reduce free time, friendships, relationships).
Let’s change our internal dialogue
We often tend to procrastinate only to rebel against a too rigid and authoritarian language that we use towards ourselves.
If we are going to do something by repeating that we “must” do it, we are in a position of conflict: we must , but we don’t really want . And then we get stuck, mentally, physically and emotionally.
An internal dialogue that implies the idea of choice, commitment and dedication, instead leads us to the realization of our objectives, strengthens us and no longer makes us feel victims.
The language of the producer will go with the habit of strengthening, to the detriment of that of the procrastinator.
- we replace “I must” (stress message, because it implies that we are forced) with “I choose”, “I decide” (we move towards a goal with responsibility);
- “When can i start?” it is much better than “I have to finish”;
- instead of reaffirming to ourselves how big and important a project is, let’s say “I can take a small step”;
- “I can be perfectly human” works much more than “I must be perfect”;
- “I don’t have time to have fun” does not motivate, much better “I have to take time to have fun”.
If we use language focused on results and not on criticism, on choice and not on duty, on what it is instead of what it should be, our body and our mind will collaborate providing the necessary energy, freeing us from the unnecessary suffering of past and comparisons with a hypothetical future.
Having fun to work better
We all need moments of leisure and relaxation that can recharge us both physically and mentally, these moments are essential for obtaining quality work and minimizing the chances of procrastinating.
In order to work better, we must stop putting off life and fun, we must fully live our days. For this, it is important to plan free time and leisure, without guilt.
As children, we learn by playing. Growing up, we forget the importance of the protected space of the game, capable of creating physical and mental states that favor learning, creativity, intuition and problem solving.
It is easier to work productively if we know that something beautiful awaits us; instead, imagining ourselves alone and isolated because overworked does not bring good results. Knowing that we will go out with friends, play tennis, have dinner in that restaurant, motivates us to engage intensely in our work activities.
Leisure and quality work go hand in hand, one reinforces the other, in a virtuous circle that only brings benefits, because when the conscious mind is focused on other than work, we leave room for creativity and the subconscious, to find original and more efficient answers and solutions.
Tools to overcome blockages and fears that prevent us from acting
There are 3 great fears that block us: fear of being overwhelmed; fear of failure and fear of not finishing something. What can we do to overcome these fears?