People come to me for help on a range of issues, but almost everyone has one thing in common.
Eventually we hit on some area of their life (often more than one), where they describe this experience:
I know what I should (or want to) be doing but I’m not doing it.
My clients have plenty of information, they know all the best practices. They’ve been to the seminars, and they’ve taken all the courses. But when it comes time to implement, they don’t take the action they know they “should” take.
Then they blame themselves for procrastinating, and enter the familiar cycle of self-judgment and blame.
Maybe you can relate. I know I can.
Our Perceptions of Procrastination
Procrastination gets a bad rap.
We typically see our procrastination as “bad” turning it into an invitation to engage in self-blame and self-judgment.
Studies show that this is more unproductive than the procrastination itself.
Procrastination is a “Broken” Place
We can think of the place where we are procrastinating as a “broken” place, a place where light seeks to enter to illuminate for us where we are misaligned.
This doesn’t mean we need to “fix” it.
Instead of seeing procrastination as an invitation for self-judgment, we can see it as an invitation to investigate our actions and motivations.
If we are willing to pry open the crack, we can flood that place with more light and see what’s behind our inaction.
Three Messages in Your Procrastination
When we open the broken place we might find many reasons for our procrastination. Here are three.
- Fear. Often, somewhere beneath the surface, lies fear. We fear the process or the result.
- Knowledge Gap. Sometimes the cause of procrastination is a knowledge gap. We know what we need to do but we don’t know how to do it.
- Misalignment. Sometimes procrastination signals an alignment problem. This is the way your inner wisdom tells you that the thing that you think you “should” be doing is not actually the thing you want to be doing.
How to Make Your Procrastination Productive
Research shows that people who cultivate self-compassion get over procrastination more easily. The challenge for many of us is how to cultivate self-compassion when we find ourselves procrastinating. Again.
Pursuing inquiry over blame is a way to bring much needed self-compassion to our process.
When you can turn your procrastination into a guide that leads you to your best work, it turns into the most potent productivity tool.
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