Procrastinating3 Lies You Tell Yourself that Cause Procrastination and 14 Questions You Could Ask To Keep Moving Forward…toward the light.

Everyone procrastinates from time to time for a myriad of reasons. According to researcher Dr. Joseph Ferrari, 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and search out distractions. Whether your procrastination lies at the sometimes end of the continuum, the chronic end, or somewhere in between, it is useful to uncover the belief systems that feed this habit.

Often belief systems are hidden, and people don’t realize that they are adhering to ideas and conclusions that are not true. Other times people state the beliefs quite clearly, even when the evidence proves them to be lies.

1. I work better under pressure. I’m more creative.

This is a lie that procrastinators tell themselves, according to Dr. Timothy Pychyl, a leading expert on procrastination. Studies show that work produced under pressures not better; the individual does not turn out to be more creative, he or she only feels that way.

Procrastinating, stress and worry mount as the deadline approaches, the task is finally undertaken, and when it is completed, there is such relief, even euphoria, that the individual attributes that good feeling to working better under pressure, even when the objective criteria disproves it.

Questions to ask:

Why do I believe that I work better under pressure? What does ‘work better’ mean? What does pressure mean to me? If I weren’t stressed and worried, what might happen (that I wouldn’t like)?

2. I’ll feel more like doing it tomorrow. I’m too stressed right now.

According to Dr. Pychyl’s research, procrastinators do not get the urge the next day. And Samuel Bacharach of Cornell University states that ’emotional intelligence’, the ability to recognize negative emotions without acting on them, is very important to procrastinating less.

Yes, you may feel like crap, but you keep moving forward toward your idea, even if it’s only in baby steps.”Acknowledge the negative emotions, but get started anyway,” says Bacharach.

Questions to ask:

How am I feeling right now? Is that okay? Would it be bad for me in any way if I started the task today, even though I’m feeling scared, crappy, tired, etc.?

3. I have to do or I should be doing something else.

There are two situations where people tell themselves or others this lie. One is when they consistently find themselves confronted with tasks they don’t want to do, because they are stuck in a rut, doing a job they don’t really like, perhaps living a lifestyle or routine that no longer suits them. They procrastinate, because they’d rather be doing something else entirely, but for any number of reasons (belief systems) they don’t make a change.

Questions to ask:

What does it mean, ‘I have to’ or ‘I should’? Is that true? What do I want instead?

Another situation is when there is simply too much to do. According to Steve Pavlina, in his blog on Overcoming Procrastination, this is the time to review schedules, priorities, and to-do-lists, using the tools of elimination, delegation and negotiation. Cut out unnecessary tasks, delegate to others, when feasible; ask for help. Negotiate with others for more time.

Set up your activity so there is time for productive work, enjoyable leisure activity, and rest. Ben Franklin advised to set aside one third of the day for productive activity, one third for play, and one third for rest.

Questions to ask:

Is this task really necessary (do I ‘have to’)? What am I afraid might happen if I didn’t do this? Am I irresponsible if I take time to play? Am I lazy if I take time to rest?

What lies do you tell yourself when you’re faced with organizing the garage, making that dentist appointment, cleaning the house for holiday guests? Or will you question your tendency to put it off and let happiness be your theme as you usher in the holidays?

May you create many moments of gratitude and joy during this holiday season that is upon us. And may procrastinating gently fall by the wayside.

Still Procrastinating?

Want to dissolve those lies in limiting beliefs? Email me here: let me know.

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