Procrastination is not about being lazy. It is not about being complacent. In fact, most procrastinators care very much about how things turn out. Procrastination is a way to avoid the fear of failure until the last possible moment. Then we say, “Oh, of course I did badly, I didn’t have enough time.” Or we just do good enough, so our best possible work goes undone and not judged by others. Procrastination is a fear-driven behavior. It is the opposite of going all in.
Another problem with procrastination is that it provides all of the stress on the mind and body of actually doing the work, without any of the reward. We spend our time and energy thinking about the work we should/want to/need to do. We worry about when and how we will do it or how it might feel. We think of what the outcomes will or won’t be. Meanwhile, we produce absolutely nothing (or anything but the work that we are dwelling on).
All this worry undermines our confidence. There is great pride that comes from putting in effort and producing something of substance. Even when the product is not spectacular, the process teaches us something. When we procrastinate, we lose the focus on process, learning, and hard work. We get stress and feelings of inadequacy instead. I think battling procrastination is an important step in improving self-esteem.
So I say go for it. Show the world your best work, your best self. Do your work in a timely manner. Give it the space and time it deserves. You deserve it. No one ever regrets it.
Need ideas for battling procrastination? Stay tuned for the next post in my back to school series…