“Procrastination” does NOT equal “lazy.”
This is one of my favorite things to tell people who procrastinate, as so many of us do! I have found that most procrastination stems from a couple different negative feelings you might have absorbed early in childhood, which are now stored in your sense of self. (You can get a report on the negative stuff you absorbed by taking this scientifically validated personality test.)
Common Procrastination Root #1: The fear that “I don’t know how to do this perfectly.” You might experience this in a number of ways, including, “I’m not smart enough,” or, “I’m not good enough.” Or, your inner voice might pressure you with, “I HAVE to do this perfectly,” or, “I HAVE to show everyone that I know how.”
When this negative feeling is triggered, you’ll do everything you can to avoid having “I’m not good enough” confirmed once again, or letting people see your deepest secret—that you aren’t perfect. You hold off doing whatever the task is until the last possible second—until the pain of not completing it at all is greater than our fear that we can’t do it well or perfectly.
Common Procrastination Root #2: The fear that “I just don’t have it in me to do this.” You might experience this as an invisible force holding you back or as something similar to exhaustion or even depression.
This feeling can be triggered by the smallest of tasks in front of you. Maybe you’ve had this experience—you need to do something you’ve done many times before, like (for me) pulling the weeds in my back yard. You look at it for days, maybe weeks, dreading it more and more. And, while you know that last time you did it, it was easy and took just a few minutes, something in you says (maybe in the same whiny voice runs through my head!), “I just ca-an’t.” Does that ring a bell?
It can be helpful to know that the part of us that stores these fears is two years old. You probably wouldn’t yell at a toddler for being scared, and it’s good to have this same compassion for yourself when you are feeling reluctant to start or finish a project or task. And, even better, these fears can be unlearned through Quanta Change®, so that your natural well-being (the opposite of those fears) can rise to the surface and allow you to accomplish what you want to do.
The well-being state in this “getting stuff done” arena can feel like this:
1. Comfort with your own unique way of doing things (instead of following “their” rules perfectly)
2. A new sense that you have everything you need within you to achieve your goals
3. The experience of being propelled forward effortlessly
What does that look like? Often, without even noticing that something is different (typical with Quanta Change), people find themselves doing the very task they dreaded easily and without resistance. In fact, I often have to point out that they accomplished something that seemed impossible just a week before.
For example, a college student was dreading the paper he had to write, so we began to work on this procrastination theme. As he unlearned layers of “I don’t know how,” he found a subject that excited him. He was so excited about it that he actually finished his paper early—a first for him! He found that he did indeed have the ability to do it, and he found a subject that fit him. He kept telling me, “It was so easy and fun!” He had never felt this way about writing a paper before. His teacher said it was the best paper she had read all year.
Getting your Quanta Change Sensory Quotient® Report can give you a good idea of the roots of your procrastination or other big challenges. The good news, again, is that these negative feelings can be unlearned, so that life can actually work more easily for you.
Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand how your SQ generates the biggest challenge in your life.