When procrastination signals something deeper
1st July, 20160 Comments
Procrastination is endemic amongst the human population. We all do it from time to time. When we put off doing something, we are making a choice about preferring to do something else. If we return to the task later and accomplish it, there is no apparent problem. However, if we are putting off doing things regularly, and there are appreciable negative associated consequences, then procrastination has become a problem. The habit of substituting something else for the task at hand can begin to become part of how we see ourselves. We learn to accept it. We minimise its impact on our lives, and in so doing allow it to take root more firmly.
We awaken to the realisation that it is clashing with how we wish to operate now and in the future, and with how we wish to present ourselves to the world. We start to question: Do we want it to be part of ourselves? When did we decide to allow it free rein in our life, and possibly also contribute to how others see us? Most likely, the decision has been made at a deeply subconscious level, and some time ago, for reasons we may not yet be able to fathom.
On closer examination, we recognise that procrastinating is in conflict with our values - the very essence of who we are, and the basis for all our highest decisions. We decide it’s time to shift it. Some kind of new régime will help, we will instigate a bit of self discipline, we will evolve a new time management programme, we will experiment with sticking to deadlines, we will wake up tomorrow and never procrastinate again.
However, if the habit of procrastinating has been acquired some time before, and honed consistently over time, it will be reluctant to leave. After all, we have invited it in, and as with any habit, there is a level of comfort in knowing it’s there, though difficult this can be to accept. Despite our best efforts, a deeper part of us does not feel ready to cut the tie. We ask ourselves why this would be, and this is the point at which we can begin to connect with a very real inner voice.
Whatever we do, there is a good reason behind it. Every behaviour, response, emotion, has a positive benefit. The unconscious mind controls 95% of our life, and the conscious mind only 5%, but both want a good result. They are both working to try and benefit us. So we need to find a way to get them to collaborate rather than be in conflict. We can release ourselves from the need for this habit once we can truly appreciate the role it has played in our life, and therefore the reason for our having invited it in. Once we can assimilate this, we can learn to move forward without it.
About the author
Noëlle Rorke - Transformational Life Coach, and Counsellor and Psychotherapist
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