Una's Blog


46 Why are you procrastinating?

graphic-6by Una Hearne.

‘You just need a bit of will power’. Common cry.

Well, what if I’m no good at will power? And I can assure you, I’m not. What then?

Will power, at best, only works for short periods of time. It is only useful in that couple of seconds when you are choosing between immediate temptation and long term benefit. While it can be useful to help you make the right choice or get you back on track when distracted, will power is not a sustainable or reliable force over time and it takes a lot of energy. Indeed, if you are tired or feeling low, the amount of energy required to will yourself to do something, or not to do something, is probably more than you can muster at that time.

Action is almost effortless when the vision you are working towards is so inspiring to you that you want to do whatever it takes. Bottom line – having an inspiring vision is better than will power for getting things done.

So where does procrastination fit in? The art of not getting around to what you have planned to do.

I’ve noticed we beat ourselves up fairly comprehensively and regularly for procrastination, which achieves nothing at all, except to drain energy and motivation. Procrastination can be very, very important. It can give you vital clues about what you need to do next.

We procrastinate for unique reasons and if we figure out what is going on for us, we find our attention drawn to something important for our development and we can move forward.

It could be very simple and obvious – like, we just need to step up and apply ourselves to the task in hand or just get started and it will build it’s own momentum. In my experience when this doesn’t work we need to look a little deeper. And we really need not to default to beating ourselves up.

Here’s a few examples of things that might be going on (all taken from real client’s experiences):

  • We have set ourselves a goal or task we have no real interest in achieving. Or worse, we have allowed someone else to set it for us.
  • We have set an unrealistic timeframe, and even though we have done a lot of work, it feels as if we have failed already so we find it almost impossible to keep going.
  • There is very often underlying core beliefs or thinking patterns stopping us from moving forward, for example:
    • I’m afraid of failure/humiliation/success/being seen…
    • I can’t do this/do anything/finish…
    • I don’t know how to …
    • I am not worthy so nothing will work out for me…
    • I don’t believe I will be successful so there is no point in trying.
  • There is something more important going on that you are trying to ignore.
  • We are naturally easily distracted and have not developed strategies to deal with this.

Or it could be something else entirely, I’m pretty sure I have not come across every scenario in the world!

Here’s a few questions that may help you examine an area of procrastination.

  • What do I really want in this area?
  • How badly do I want it?
  • How important is it to me?
  • How much effort am I willing to put into it?
  • What do I need to develop to be able to move forward?


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