Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Procrastination is no fun.

I’ve been thinking…..procrastination, in my experience, is not so much about putting something off that could be done today. It’s more about how we personally experience the delay.

For example, if you have 5 days to finish an article, and you know that you only need a few hours to accomplish it, you may choose to put it off a couple of days and do something more pressing or more enjoyable in the meantime. If you’re comfortable with your choice, I wouldn’t call this procrastination, I’d call it practicing good planning and/or life balance.

On the other hand, let’s say you have 5 days to finish an article, and although you know you only need a few hours to accomplish it, you decide you really should get started now because you have the time to do it today. But you don’t feel like it. You find yourself taking extended breaks or doing something else to avoid the task. You continue to beat yourself up, so much so, that you’re not enjoying the breaks or accomplishing anything because you’re aware in the back of your mind that you really ought to be finishing the article NOW! Finally, you tell yourself, enough is enough, so you manage to get yourself back to your desk to finish the article. But again, you struggle aimlessly. This is how I describe procrastination. Can you relate? Wow, I actually started feeling uncomfortable just writing about that feeling.

I once read that if you’re having significant trouble sleeping, you should get up and do something to shift the experience for a while and then return to bed, instead of nervously struggling to get yourself asleep. It made a lot of sense to me. I recommend a similar strategy when we find ourselves procrastinating. Instead of struggling with our avoidance, and continuing to be unproductive, find something to do for a period of time that we might enjoy or feel good about accomplishing. We may as well, right?


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