In this 3 part blog we’ll identify What is a procrastination? Why people procrastinate and how to overcome procrastination.
Part 1: What is Procrastination and why do People Procrastinate?
To understand the procrastinator’s psychology, it’s necessary to understand the two key figures at play in this dynamic: The Instant Gratification Monkey (the part of your brain that makes you procrastinate) and his dominion over the Rational Decision Maker.
The procrastinator is in the bad habit, bordering on addiction, of letting the monkey win. He intends to control the monkey, but puts forth a hapless effort, using the same proven-not-to-work methods he’s used for years, and deep down, knows the monkey will win. He vows to change, but the patterns just stay the same.
Let’s call this self-fulfilling prophecy his Storyline. The procrastinator’s Storyline goes something like this:
For the Have-To-Dos in my life, I’ll end up waiting until the last minute, panicking, and then either doing less than my best work or shutting down and not doing anything at all. For the Want-To-Dos in my life, let’s be honest—I’ll either start one and quit or more likely, I just won’t ever get around to it.
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE?
The root of the procrastinator’s problem is embedded in his Storyline, and his Storyline is what must change.
What do the right habits even look like, and where exactly will the procrastinator run into trouble? There are two components of being able to achieve things in a healthy and effective manner—planning and doing. Let’s start with the easy one:
Procrastinators love planning, quite simply because planning does not involve doing, and doing is the procrastinator’s Kryptonite. But when procrastinators plan, they like to do it in a vague way that doesn’t consider details or reality too closely, and their planning leaves them perfectly set up to not actually accomplish anything.
A BIG LIST OF ICKY, DAUNTING TASKS AND UNDERTAKINGS.
A big list of vague and daunting things makes the Instant Gratification Monkey laugh. Even if your gullible conscious mind believes it intends to accomplish the items on that list in an efficient manner, the monkey knows that in your subconscious, you have no intention of doing so.
EFFECTIVE PLANNING TAKES A BIG LIST AND SELECTS A WINNER
Planning must end with rigorous prioritizing and one item that emerges as the winner—the item you’re going to make your first priority. And the item that wins should be the one that’s most important for your happiness.
EFFECTIVE PLANNING TURNS A DAUNTING ITEM INTO A SERIES OF SMALL, CLEAR, MANAGEABLE TASKS
No one “builds a house.” They lay one brick again and again and again and the end result is a house. Procrastinators are great visionaries—they love to fantasize about the beautiful mansion they will one day have built—but what they need to be are gritty construction workers, who methodically lay one brick after the other, day after day, without giving up, until a house is built.
Check back on Wednesday for part 2 of this blog – Why do People Procrastinate, a deeper look.