What Is Procrastination?
Being a word-nerd, I immediately went to the dictionary to see the derivation. The “pro” part means forward. That, put together with “cras”, which means tomorrow, gives us a meaning of putting something forward until tomorrow.
What Is Not Procrastination
It is not laziness. As a kind of proof of non-laziness, I once redecorated a whole room while avoiding formatting a lit review for a paper. The redecorating gave me a good workout. (And the building panic about my deadline returned as soon as I finished the project.)
What Is the Harm in Procrastination?
In order to be called procrastination, the action of putting forward to tomorrow must be both intentional and habitual.
Hindrance to Self Esteem
So, procrastination is not just forgetting to do something. It’s not unconscious. We know we are doing it when we are doing it. And as we watch ourselves avoid taking action, we usually judge ourselves. Yuck. Observing ourselves as we give in to fear, anxiety, or overwhelm, we may even call ourselves names: whimps, weaklings, or scaredy cats. Shame and guilt surge and self-esteem plummets.
A debilitating loop can develop: Procrastinate, lose self-esteem, deplete energy and optimism, weaken the ability to take action. Repeat.
Hindrance to Completing Goals which Can Lead to Success
Most of us have goals that require action: fitness, home ownership, a business, health, gardening, starting a new relationship. Of course, not taking care of our heartfelt goals and hopes makes us feel guilt and shame—further lowering our self-esteem.
What to Do About Procrastinating?
Discover in what areas you tend to procrastinate. Work, family, health care, around certain people?
For me it has always been when I have to ask an authority for something. Especially if there are numbers involved.
Decades ago, when I was just starting to get a credit card, I had to pay the credit card company $500 on deposit to get the card. At the time I had to pay 14% interest on anything I bought. A couple of years later if found out that if you had paid regularly, you could request a decrease in the interest you were charged. I was terrified to talk to the officials. I was afraid—yes, yes, I know—that not only would they refuse to lower the interest, but that “they” would actually punish me for asking by canceling my card.
It took me three days to make the call. Here’s what you can do:
- Make a Plan. I set up a “sandwich” call with my bestie. We talked before I called the credit company, and we set a time for me to call her back right after I talked with them.
- Get Support. My friend knows and shares my issues. So, I don’t feel shame in her presence about it. We both joked about my fear that they’d jerk my card back. Our system has worked so well over the years, that we often ask in our daily calls, “What are you avoiding today?”
- I use a promise to myself, such as: “Start working on it for just 5 minutes.” That usually works.
- Try The Pomodoro Technique, a structured way to get yourself started and give yourself rest periods in between.
- Here’s one link to the details of that method:
I’m going to stop procrastinating about saying goodbye to you for now. Please feel free to contact me to get support for any of the things you are procrastinating about.
Aletta Bee lives in Culver City, California. A marriage and family therapist with three decades of private practice, she is fascinated by the way people influence, misunderstand, and ultimately love each other. She wrote a nonfiction blog, Your Zesty Self for PsychologyToday.com, along with a monthly “Daily Inspiration” for Agape Press’s Inner Visions for nearly ten years.
She has a B.A. in English from Duke, an M.A. in Family Studies from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in Contemporary Psychoanalysis from The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Short Fiction Break Online Literary Magazine and Amazon.
Her work has been featured in Short Fiction Break Online Literary Magazine and Amazon.
Tolerance— “A Fly on the Wall” and “Deceit and Dirty Laundry.”
Autumn, An Anthology— “Autumn Love” and “The Domino Effect.”
Spring—The Unexpected “The Incident on Beachwood Drive” and “Cocked Ears, Opened Eyes.”
Winter: An End and a Promise— “Saving Santa and A Promising Dinner.”
Summer—When Doors Open “Venus and Mars Go Shopping.”
You can read more of her work by visiting her author’s website:
https://www.AlettaBeeWrites.com. She can also be found on social media:
Facebook: @AlettaBeeWrites; | Twitter: @AlettaBeeWrites; | Instagram: @Aletta_Bee_Writes
We have completed the Seasons Series with the release of our last book, Summer—When Doors Open. Our next book release is similar to our very first anthology, Tolerance. The new one will be called Deceit. It will contain ten stories for you to enjoy and will be released in November. Here is the new book cover, Please keep your eye on your email for a special announcement. We hope you like the cover and will let you know when you can pre-order.
Until the next time…