It’s an early Sunday afternoon, and I have 6 perfectly good hours to go about getting things done.
I need to get my car oil changed, I have to sort the recycling and take it to the recycling center, I need to prepare my book discussion for Tuesday night’s meeting, and I’ve got piles of laundry staring me in the face.
So why is it that all I want to do is put on a bathing suit, rub on some sunscreen, and lie out by the pool?
At times, I feel really ashamed at this sort of procrastination. Is my week really so tiring that I won’t put a weekend to its best use?
Well, yes and no.
There are times when procrastination is a real hindrance, but there are also instances where procrastination is telling us something important.
All of us have had times where we’ve not procrastinated and been really in the flow to get things done. Thus, when we call ourselves procrastinators, we are (kind of) telling a lie.
Yes, we may have procrastinated on a few things, but we haven’t procrastinated on everything. Your procrastination might be showing you an area of your life that needs adjusting.
What was the last activity you didn’t procrastinate on? You just got it done and felt totally good (or mostly good) about it the whole time?
What you don’t procrastinate on there is likely to be some internal drive & sense of passion toward. Thus it stands to reason that what you do procrastinate on there is some resistance and potentially some resentment toward.
Now for me and my personal life to-do items, I need to save the sunbathing for another day. In this case, I’m just not being a very responsible adult by putting these things off because they will reach a point of stressing me out and no one wants to hear me gripe.
In other instances, however, when you notice yourself in habitual procrastination, it may be time to make a change.
A year and a half ago, I was working a full time job as well as writing blogs & newsletters for people and businesses on the side for some extra cash each month. I’d finish one blog post up and hardly get any relief before it was time to start brainstorming another.
After writing and publishing the blogs, I had to share them on social platforms. Some of the companies also had me planning out their social posts for the week. And it just never ended.
I was a first-world kind of exhausted almost constantly. I was also pretty steadily stressed out because I’d wait until the night before (or 3 hours before) I’d say I’d have the post done to get it started.
This is the kind of procrastination that has something to say. Looking back on it now, I realize that procrastinating on doing all my side work (while still showing up from 8:00-6:00 every weekday at my full time job) was a big red flag that I was not spending any of my time the way I wanted to.
I have since switched jobs and thoroughly enjoy the content production I do every week. I enjoy not needing to have side gigs to help supplement the monthly bills. I’ve also stopped procrastinating on what I have to get done week to week and literally just get it all checked off my list.
I have a bit of Type A personality in me, so I sometimes get a touch anxious that I’m not stressed out about having too much on my plate, but mostly it’s just wonderfully relaxing to know I’m getting all my goals accomplished without something lingering over my head. For you, some things that might sit on your plate on day-to-day basis might be team meetings, booked appointments, managing a calendar, picking up the kids, and other responsibilities.
I hope my story helps illustrate the difference between procrastinating for laziness' sake and when procrastinating is telling you that a change needs to be made.
When it comes to chores, they won’t do themselves.
The next time I find myself in some habitual procrastinating, however, I’m definitely going to check and see if there’s something bigger in my life that needs to shift.
What about you? If you find yourself feeling a little resistance with a task, try one of these 5-minute refreshers to help you reboot and get back into the swing. What could your procrastination be telling you?