Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about procrastination. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

As we discussed in Part 2, there are many different types of procrastination patterns and although we do not believe that humans can be labelled we have, for ease, labelled the patterns to help you understand how they work and how we can work together to benefit you.

For those of you who identified that Social Procrastination was an aspect of your behaviour that you wish to change, a good starting point is to analyse whether you have a fear of saying no when it comes to doing a task an acquaintance / friend / work colleague has asked you to do. For those of you who come under the typology category “SF”, you have a greater want to be liked by your peers however this is not limited to just SF personalities. Either way, until you realise that the request is discretionary and learn to say no if you really don’t want to do the favour then it will be inevitable that your delays will occur impacting your social interactions and attracting that which you feared the most – i.e. the disapproval of others. As for impersonal delays such as the late payment of tax bills, overdue library books or RSVPs to invitations, you are again placing yourself between a perpetual tug of war between punctuality and postponement. In addition those of you who socially procrastinate within groups often do so due to concern that your input won’t favourable compare to the others in the group.

For all these social procrastination patterns one needs to escape from the habitual trap, accept responsibilities and act on them showing a sign of maturity and realising that by combating delay you are actually avoiding the disapproval of friends, the fines from the tax office or library, the cold shoulder or lack of invitations for showing up late or not at all, and you show yourself that you are in charge of your emotions and rather than fixating on the small picture, are playing a longer term game resulting in achievement, high accolades and advancement.

To aid you get a grasp on your Social Procrastination, I would like you to take a few minutes to write in your journal about the challenges you find in this area and define a positive and uplifting avenue for change.

  1. Write down you most pressing Social Procrastination challenge.
  2. Name the catalysts you use to avoid completing the challenge.
  3. List the excuses you tell yourself and others to justify not meeting the challenge.
  4. List all the actions you are prepared to take to follow through and meet the next challenge coming your way.

Unlike Social Procrastination, Personal Procrastination occurs when you constantly put self improvement tasks low on your priority list which can in turn be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health. Such justifications for this type of procrastination involve low self-importance, an inaccurate and idealised timeline that there is no rush to improve oneself which inevitably shows that your sense of responsibility towards yourself is heavily diminished. Often clients are resistant to emotional change  due to time constraints or not wanting to delve into the past. It is in this area that much resistance is often noted as some challenges can be both uncomfortable and painful. However by taking the leap to break these fears of emotional insecurities, one can progressively master any type of Personal Procrastination and enhance any self-development and grow in ways you cannot even imagine. As with any procrastination problem the challenge is to start sooner rather than later. I have devised a few questions below for you to work through to get you started to vanquishing the fear and moving that step closer to a life that you will love.

  1. What is your most pressing Personal Procrastination challenge?
  2. What are the consequences for not carrying out the challenge?
  3. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  4. How do you limit yourself in your abilities to progress and what are you losing?
  5. What do you tell yourself to justify not completing the challenge?What are your fears?
  6. What actions will you take today to feel more in charge of your life and gain the benefits of finally meeting the challenge?

In addition to these procrastination patterns there are also a group of Mild Impact Procrastinations. These are important to some people but appear lower on your priority list than they should and more often than not get put off until the next day and so on until they never get done. Such activities seem to be small matters and invariably you will take a calculated risk that they won’t affect you in the long run – often justifying that they will be a waste of time spent on the little things that you think can be done later. Unfortunately it is these little things that can blow up into larger challenges and such accumulations can leaving overwhelmed as they now will all have to be done all at once. To stop Mild Impact Procrastination before it starts a little organisation is needed especially for routine activities. If your personality type is not one to already be making lists it may be a useful activity to introduce this into your routine. Listing each mildly important activity, giving it a due date, allowing you to enjoy ticking them off as they are completed. Each tick that you produce not only shows that you’ve accomplished the activity without undue delay but reinforces that you are kicking your Procrastination habit to the curb and allows you to recognise that taking charge of these smaller aspects of your life will have a major impact on the running of your life as a whole. Again below, I have added a quick exercise for your journal to help you effectively deal with Mild Impact Procrastination which should enviable free up some brain space to more important matters such as Personal or social Procrastination matters.

  1. What is the most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge?
  2. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  3. List all the activities that you need to do regularly but delay.
  4. Write beside these activities a one word answer to justify the delay.
  5. What action will you take to follow through meeting your most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge mentioned in 1?
  6. What actions are you going to take to combat your justifications for delaying the list of activities mentioned in 3.

I hope you take this time to promise yourself that procrastination is worth beating and to acknowledge that you have all the capabilities inside you to rise to the challenge and bring about a change for the better today.

I look forward to working with you in Part 4.

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