Procrastination is (not) a habit

Often when you read about procrastination, the writer will say it’s a habit. I tend to disagree. I believe the tendency to procrastinate is (partly) innate. The part of giving in to the tendency, THAT’s the habit.

Procrastination often functions as a flight mechanism. It takes us away from things we don’t like or things we (unknowingly) fear. An unpleasant task lights up the same part of our brain as pain does. The instant gratification part of us stimulates us to give in to the short term impulse, and ignore the long term thinking. There’s always tomorrow…

But we all know tomorrow is always a day away, and it makes sense to get a grip on procrastination. To get back our freedom of choice. Do I want to do this now? Or is it REALLY better for me to do it later? If so, when?

If it’s a habit, it can be changed. When it’s a signal of something deeper going on (fear of failure, fear of success, perfectionism, etc.) the signal can be read. The deeper issue can be addressed – whilst you get your work done, you don’t need to wait. But both take effort. There’s an eternal demand for quick fixes for procrastination. I believe the demand is eternal because quick fixes don’t last, or don’t work.

That being said, I’d love to hear what has worked for you. Are there quick fixes that help you out? Have you managed to change (some of) your habits? How?

The next Get it Done week will focus on your personal procrastination habit(s). It starts on May 4, and will end on May 11. You’ll have the weekend off – unless that’s a habit that doesn’t serve you 🙂

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