Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stop Procrastination: 14 Lies Procrastinators Like to Tell

procrastination previewProcrastination Preview - Image by Charlotte Godfrey1 via FlickrBy Natalie A Hill

One of the problems with lies procrastinators tell is that they are sometimes true. Do any of these feel familiar to you?

1. I'll start the thing I'm putting off right after I finish this...
This is the lie we tell ourselves to keep from ever having to start doing the thing we're putting off. "I'll start my taxes right after I finish watching this tv show." The problem is, we can use this excuse over and over and over, never actually getting started on the dreaded task.

2. I'll feel like doing this tomorrow
This one is very rarely true. We'll likely never "feel like" taking out the trash, doing our taxes or whatever unpleasant task we're putting off.

3. It's not that important
When we are avoiding doing a dreaded task, it's easy to convince ourselves it's not that important. When actually, not finishing what we've committed to can destroy relationships, both personal and professional.

4. I will definitely get to it soon
When we tell ourselves or others this lie, it erodes our faith in ourselves and damages our relationships.

5. This is more important to finish first
We are convinced that checking email or organizing the cables under our desk is an essential task. It's not. But it feels better than facing what we're procrastinating.

6. If I avoid it, it will go away
If we avoid it, it might go away. Some things do lose their importance over time. And, we may lose our job or our relationship, but that's probably not the way we were hoping it would go away.

7. Someone else will do it.
This can happen, but at what price? If this actually happens - someone takes the trash out for you, a co-worker steps in and finishes your part of the task - it will reinforce your belief in this lie.

8. The longer I wait, the easier it will get
For the perfectionist in us, this lie might be true. We'll take as much time as we have to do any task. Our standards of perfectionism can be very high if we have weeks to complete something. But if we just have hours, we can focus on just get it done and we have a handy excuse for why it won't be perfect (who could produce something perfect in just 3 hours?).

9. I'm better when under pressure/I work better under pressure
This is another lie that is sometimes true. If our fear of failure or fear of not getting other's approval is overpowering us, then a time crunch pressure can over-ride the fear of failure.

10. I was born this way; I'll never change
The truth is that procrastinators were made, not born. Procrastination is a survival strategy we developed to keep us safe (or feeling safe) at one time, probably in early childhood. The problem is when we continue to use a strategy that no longer serves, might even hurt us.

11. Relax - I've got plenty of time to get this done!
This lie can be so frustrating for the team or family members of the procrastinator. Procrastinators are often overly ambitious about what they can accomplish in a given period of time.

12. I'll have this done in less than an hour
Another lie that's so frustrating to hear. Again, the procrastinator is overestimating what she can do in a period of time.

13. I just don't feel like doing it, and when I don't feel like doing something, it turns out bad
This lie is based on the assumption that we need to "feel like" doing something in order to do it. Or that our work will be sub-optimal if we don't feel like doing it. The truth is that successful people do what needs to be done, regardless of how they feel.

14. I'll do it when I feel like it, when I'm motivated
This is a damaging lie, since it's possible that we'll never feel motivated to do many of the tasks we face.
Awareness is the first step to healing any problem. So knowing more about the nature of lies procrastinators tell (even if that procrastinator is you) can help you stop procrastination.

You can learn how to change your beliefs with this free 5-day mini course, Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life.

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Natalie Hill is an EFT expert and coach. She works privately with women ready for change.

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