Why do we procrastinate?
You know you should be doing that important task, but you find yourself creating other things to do that are either more pleasurable or more ‘important’ instead. Well, they are not really more important, who are we kidding! But we will go to extreme lengths to find tasks to distract us from the very things we are avoiding in order to justify the guilty that we are feeling. Some of us even help others to avoid the issues in our own lives. Sound familiar?
Have you ever wondered why we do this to ourselves? And is there ever a legitimate reason to procrastinate?
Procrastination was built into us as a biological defence mechanism. There really is a legitimate reason we procrastinate. Let us imagine that I was to ask you to invest in a new business proposition that you were unsure of. Or perhaps I ask you to do something that initially appeared ‘above board’, but the more you thought about it, the more unsure you became? Can you relate that uncertainty to a ‘gut feeling’? Well your gut is correct in some cases! That feeling of uncertainty is there to caution you, to warn you of potential danger in situations where you might be at risk, or where you could be potentially compromised. A useful mechanism, agreed?
This legitimate reason to procrastinate somehow got corrupted along the way when our brains realised the benefits of procrastinating over ordinary things. At a subconscious level, this biological mechanism has gotten confused when in today’s world we are faced with tasks that we do not feel like doing. We beat ourselves up over the fact that we are procrastinators, but to procrastinate is a human response. However, it is a habit that is not productive, and a habit that does not need to control us and can indeed be overcome with the right set of tools.
The good news is that no human being was born a procrastinator. Every single human being has developed their own pattern of procrastination along the way. You are not alone. And you really can shed the shackles of procrastination.
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