Why Do We Procrastinate?

The answer is surprising.

As we start a fresh, brand-new month and week, expectations are high for what we can accomplish. But for many of us, we’re hoping that this is the month we finally get that thing done for our business, despite the nagging knowledge that we’ve been procrastinating on it forever. We know it’s that thing that could really move us forward and open up many doors for us, but we just can’t seem to get it done.

So why do so many of us procrastinate, anyway?

Many people have answers such as, “working faster/better under pressure” (used it!), “being too busy” (yep), or “not knowing where to start” (uh-huh).

But none of these are actually the truth, the root of our procrastination. So what is procrastination really about? Where does it come from?

Simple: according to author Nick Ortner, procrastination is about unresolved emotions.

These emotions are rooted in fear, and are most commonly identified among my clients with descriptors such as anxiety, fear of failure, feeling overwhelmed, or perfectionism (which author Elizabeth Gilbert calls “fear in really good shoes.”)

Often people who procrastinate are extremely capable and intelligent but are being derailed and held back by this habit, which can also be a sneaky form of self-sabotage.

Let’s look at some examples.

  • I don’t want to reach out, pitch myself, offer my services, etc. because I want it to be perfect and I’m scared that it won’t be (fear).
  • I’m afraid of the response (or non-response) when I send this email, or this is too big of a project, so I’m just going to keep putting it off because I never have time to do it RIGHT or all at once (overwhelm, anxiety, fear).

Or my personal avowed favorite…

  • If I put it off until the last minute, then if it isn’t perfect, I can say it was because I didn’t give it my best effort or didn’t have time!

Then I’d go read some article about 32 ways to get more done, be more productive, etc., etc., etc. And while they all seemed like great ideas, and I thought, “YEAH, totally!!!,” and I’d save or pin the article, declaring that this was the time I’d finally implement, the truth was, those strategies didn’t work for me because it was emotions causing the actions, not me just needing more structure. Addressing the emotions is what allowed me to move through procrastination and become amazingly productive.

Most of us are not conscious of all of this going on, and we often think there’s something bad or wrong with us. The truth is, our subconscious minds, which control our emotions, are fully 90% of our brains — our rational, analytical minds are only 10%. So, if we have some strong negative emotion battling our conscious mind, what’s going to win?

It’s time to let the “I’m a bad person” judgment and shame go. Procrastination is just your brain’s way of trying to keep you safe, because to your brain, safe is same. Once you become consciously aware of what’s really going on underneath the surface, you can thank it, decide if it’s worth allowing it to continue to control you, and ask for some accountability or support to start small on that task.

In just 5 minutes a day, you’ll start answering your fear, move through your procrastination, and gain the confidence and trust in yourself that you can do this — plus you’ll have the result you’ve been waiting for!

Now share below: Does this make sense for you? Can you relate, and if so, what emotion(s) do you feel that cause you to procrastinate? What project or task is this showing up in right now, and what are you going to do about it?

If you want some support and accountability for overcoming procrastination so that you can grow your business, grab Christine’s free workbook, Top 5 Things To Do To Get Your First Or Next Client, and connect with her in her private Facebook community, Life With Passion Society.

Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on May 1, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Courtesy of Timothy Pychyl
Walking on Earth//

Why We Procrastinate — and How We Can Stop it

by Josh Jacobs

What Our Brain Thinks: Major Fears Hidden Behind Procrastination

by Branislava Milosavljevic

17 Procrastination Tendencies

by Vitin Landivar

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.