Procrastination has a long history in the self-help community. It’s clear, from many studies, that those who make a habit of procrastinating do not do well in life. Procrastination is action’s evil twin. It is the opposite of action. Delayed action prevents us from moving forward in life in realizing our dreams and accomplishing our goals. It prevents, even the most talented individuals, from realizing success in life. It is the reason most are stuck in life. Procrastination results in a “put out the fire” response to meeting the needs of customers, clients, supervisors and co-workers. Oftentimes, this “put out the fire” response results in poor quality, dissatisfied customers, clients, employers and coworkers and can lead to a loss of customers, clients and litigation, costing the business valuable time and money.
So, if procrastination is so bad, why do we do it?
- FEAR OF NEGATIVE FEEDBACK – Procrastination is driven by fear of negative feedback. All action has a feedback ripple effect. Sometimes that feedback is good, sometimes bad. We fear negative feedback. But negative feedback is critical to success in life. It tells us if we are on the right or wrong path.
- TASK INFLATION – Procrastination is driven by inflating the work required for tasks. We dread taking action because we exaggerate how much time it will take to complete the task. We exaggerate the imagined physical or mental effort it will take to complete the task or goal.
- LACK OF PASSION – Procrastination is driven by a lack of passion. We simply like to do the things we like to do and we put off the things we do not like to do. You always find time for the things you are passionate about.
- OUR BRAIN IS LAZY – Procrastination is, in part, neurological. Taking action on something you don’t want to do requires that you exert willpower. Willpower engages your pre-frontal cortex (conscious part of brain). This engagement requires that the brain marshal additional fuel (glucose) that powers your brain. The brain does not like to use glucose. That’s why it created habits. Habits limit the consumption of brain fuel and take willpower and discipline out of the equation. Your own brain is begging you not to engage in any and all activities that need willpower to get you started.