What it is?

When you desire to achieve something in a meaningful way but you avoid taking action to achieve it, you are procrastinating. This is different from postponement. Postponement means you can take action on that project, goal or objective but there are more important things to do within a certain time frame that you have chosen to do. In postponement, you tell yourself that there are first things first and you shall attend to others at a predetermined time. In procrastination you actually lack what we call motivation.

How does it manifest?

You have mixed feelings about a project, the determination to pursue it and lack of energy to go ahead. This produces an uneasiness, guilt or anxiety, any of which is a painful feeling. Because your mind does not want to you to have painful feelings it will try some way of reducing or doing away with that not so good feeling. The usual way is to look for excuses or to look for easier things to do, so you do not feel guilty. You find yourself being preoccupied with small frivolities. At the end of the day, however, the feeling of guilt reappears and can become uncontrollable because it is a consequence of a choice you have made.

What causes it?

We first have to understand what makes us do anything and what makes us avoid doing anything. There is only one reason why we do things or avoid doing them. It is avoidance of painful feelings and the pursuit of good feelings. What causes any feeling, pleasant or painful are VALUES. Other examples of painful feelings are: disappointment, frustration, stress, and on the side of pleasure we have labels such as love, success, acceptance, belonging, approval, gain, etc. You and I can change our values by reframing how we perceive our circumstances. By reframing our perception, we can accordingly move from avoiding action to desiring it and therefore get rid of procrastination.

What it can do to you?

It can immobilise you and give you a self-image or set of beliefs that you are incapable. Once you have such a belief system, other areas of your life will be affected and you may find that even the things you could have done with ease become difficult. Your self-esteem becomes an immediate casualty and you start demeaning yourself, which can turn into self-hate. You become angry with yourself.

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Your relationships can be affected by such a low self-esteem because you are likely to become jealous of the people around you who seem to manage. You can turn to be abusive to others and imagine that they think they are better than other people.

The results of procrastination can and do make you lose your personal power and some people give up on life and certain of these commit suicide because they ask themselves whether it is worth it going on with life when one cannot achieve anything.

What can you do about i?

People avoid doing things because they can find no positive meaning in those things. Meaning comes as a result of values. Is it going to make me avoid painful feelings, is it going to make me get good feelings; then you go for it if the answer is yes. But if the answer is no in your subconscious mind, you avoid doing them.

Make sure that when you postpone it is not because you are afraid of what you are postponing because that will be procrastination.

Do not try to change your behaviour. Behaviour is a result. Change the cause. What is the cause? The cause is your associations. You are associating what has to be done with painful feelings. Have you experienced a situation where after procrastinating for a long time you suddenly find yourself doing it? What has changed? Your associations of course.

Can you prevent i?

The best way to change your associations without effort and avoiding to procrastinate without even thinking about it is to have a purpose and define it clearly. Have a purpose in life. Structure every role around your purpose. Structure every goal around your roles and therefore around your purpose. Your purpose is your driving force. Your purpose will take care of everything automatically, without effort.

Get rid of all the things that do not link with your purpose. If you have a well considered purpose, all the things that fall outside the purpose will fall away anyway. That is the best guarantee against procrastination, having a purpose of life.

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