We are now in Part 4 of the Overcoming Procrastination series and some of you might have even booked that summer holiday or beach break and have made a promise to yourself that you will lose weight to fit into your bikini or swimming trunks before your plane takes off. However have you found that the diet is either hard to stick to or, as like with all types of procrastination, that it keeps getting put off perhaps to the start of the week after your friend’s birthday, after that weekend barbecue, the list seems never-ending. This type of procrastination is tantamount to New Year’s resolutions. It’s the type of promise you make yourself yet there is no guilt if you give it up within hours or days of the original idea. This is normally because there has been no strong commitment and / or action plan thought out and therefore it is easier to procrastinate. This type of procrastination is often referred to as Promissory Procrastination.
This procrastination is seen more in less detail orientated people so for example NFs (the big picture feelers) are the most likely to be so caught up in the big picture of being thinner and fitting into the bikini that they have not thought each step through. STs are less likely to fall into this trap however although they have an action plan they sometimes lack the willpower and determination to get there as they have less visualisation on the long-term goal.
Therefore to conquer Promissory Procrastination not only do we need to have a clear vision / wish but also an action plan detailing the hows, whys whens and wheres. To do this we need to take the “Feelers” temporarily into a thinking zone and get the “Sensors” to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Every personality type can find a path taking small steps to completing their new goal, be it controlling their eating habits, enlarging their social circle, volunteering their time in the community, taking up a new hobby or satisfying the basic need of significance.
If you want to keep the promises that you make to yourself, follow the bullet points below to help you on your way:-
- Decide out of all the Promissory Procrastination goals you’ve made which is the first you want to deal with.
- List all the activities you do to avoid keeping to your goal.
- List the reasons you use to justify the delay.
- Look at each reason in turn and decide if there is more pleasure in the activity or justification you use to avoid attaining your goal.
- Write a list of all the positives about reaching your goal.
- List the actions you would have to take to make it more pleasurable to reach your goal than procrastinating, justifying and avoiding the challenge.
- Ask yourself whether the change you are trying to make is meaningful enough to you personally to want to spend the time and effort of going through all the stages in step 6. If it is, put step 6’s list into action one small step at a time. If it isn’t, understand why this didn’t work for you, let go of the goal and move on without guilt.
- Repeat this process for all Promissory Procrastination challenges – do make sure you only take on one at a time. Although some challenges can be worked on in conjunction with each other, do not try to overload yourself as this is commonly a set-up for failure.
Unlike Promissory Procrastination where we often set resolutions and goals without thinking the steps through, the next type of procrastination I will be talking about is where both the wish and the plan are present but it’s like watching helicopter blades starting to cycle but never fast enough to allow it to lift off the ground. This type of procrastination is called Behavioural Procrastination and it is very common in N types, because such procrastinators can have outstanding visions which come from their big picture thinking and can even be organised but what they lack is motivation and follow through.
You will often see this type of procrastination in people who try to start their own businesses who have fantastic ideas but still don’t manage to sell their product or in employees who accumulate case files that are close to being finished but never quite ready for presentation. It also happens in S types, for example the eternal student who keeps re-writing their thesis justifying the need for change on the small level but never finishing the project to hand it in. For these types of people, the planning and the detail is fun but the execution, production and completion is either frustrating or feels out of their reach.
If you identify with Behavioural Procrastination and you would like to redefine yourself as someone who follows through to the end of a project, follow the steps below:-
- Define your most pressing Behavioural Procrastination and give a list of reasons why you want to be able to complete your project.
- Take each reason and attach as many pleasurable images in your mind to completing the project.
- List all the details you concentrate on to avoid completing the project.
- Ask yourself how many of these details are absolutely necessary for the completion of your project and list how many are actually hindering completion.
- Ask yourself what you tell yourself to justify the delay.
- Ask yourself how that makes you look to yourself and others.
- Find out if there is more pain attached to handing something in that’s not ‘perfect’ than making people wait.
- Address why this is.
- Ask yourself what you would need to change to understand that projects need to be finished to completion and that the details should not be all-consuming.
- List all the actions you can take to make sure you complete each stage of your plan without getting overloaded in excuses and justifications.
- Take each step in turn.
- When you have completed the challenge return to step 1 and choose your next procrastination to deal with.
Following through to the end of your projects not only makes you more productive but helps you lead a life with integrity when you start being your word whether that’s executing a document, building up your own business or handing work in on time. Others will treat you with respect and in the long-term this will create even more of an advantage to you.
In the next instalment of Overcoming Procrastination series we will be discussing how once you have kicked the procrastination habit it is easy to get into a cycle of procrastination then action then procrastination which is a slippery slope and often referred to as Fallback Pattern Procrastination. We will also be addressing Lateness Procrastination which is just as disrespectful to yourself as it is to others.
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