Procrastination Is Not a Problem. It’s a Solution.

Most of us refer to procrastination as if we are a victim of it.

I might hear something like “I didn’t get that done, my procrastination got to me.” Sometimes, we make it out as a flaw in our character: “I always procrastinate.” And, of course, we point it out in others: “Why are you procrastinating? You want to do this!”

What is procrastination, really? The dictionary defines it as “the act of delaying or postponing something.”

I find that definition to be lacking. A conscious and intentional act to delay something is planning. Few people plan to put things off, they just wind up doing something else.

Truly, procrastination is taking action other than what you consciously intended to do at that time. Instead of studying, you played a video game. Instead of making sales calls, you did laundry. Instead of mowing the lawn, you stayed in bed.

Why a solution and not a problem?

The human mind is goal oriented. Every action, even lying in bed, is purposeful action to your mind. The purpose is to solve a problem, often more than one. There is the problem you are telling yourself you are solving, such as being tired or wanting some entertainment, and then there is problem you are solving by not doing the thing you intended to do. That second problem is probably anxiety, fear, frustration, or some other feeling you unconsciously want to avoid and consciously solve by procrastinating.

I am determined, now, to put aside of sub-optimal solutions to the problem of fear, ie. Procrastination, and instead ask myself for the optimal solution.

Here is what I recommend to turn procrastination into a solution.

Step 1: Be aware that you procrastinating.  (Your mind is very good at pretending otherwise.)

Step 2: What resistance do you feel to the task you said that you would do? Is it fear, boredom, frustration, sadness?

Step 3: Ask yourself, “Is doing something else the optimal and/or acceptable solution?” (I won’t say that it never is.)

To give a great example of the above steps, I’ll share something about this article.

I first thought of this title 3 weeks ago. Several times I sat down to write it. Then I would do something else.

Frequently, I’d go debate with people on the internet or look at parrot videos or actually do work but not the creative work. Finally, I asked myself, what problem am I trying to solve?

For me, it’s a low level of fear that what I write is junk, no one will want to read it. The solution of procrastination is to go do something else that doesn’t lead to as much anxiety, or maybe gives immediate pleasure. I solved my fear.

The optimal solution, though, is to recognize my anxiety, question if it’s true, then power through writing the article. And, here it is. Laugh if you will, I did it!

Procrastination as a Solution

Related Posts:

Back to top