I read a recent study that headlined why people procrastinate. Since that is a problem I hear in my coaching calls, I checked it out. This latest research explains what happens in your brain when you put things off. You can read it for yourself here if you’re interested.
Basically, it describes the battle that occurs between your fear/survival center and your logical/thinking center. There are some people who, when given a choice between initiating an action (project, engagement or conversation), will consider all the ways it will go wrong, which activates their fear center and overrides their thinking center. Consequently, they delay action.
When you have a pattern of putting off doing things, you may be demonstrating fear. From my coaching experience, these are a few I hear.
. I may be wrong.
. I won’t be successful.
. I will be judged.
. I will be embarrassed.
Fear overrides your logical thinking and you naturally opt for what is safe and less dangerous. Your fear emotion trumps your rational thought so you do nothing.
Too many procrastinators don’t think they procrastinate as much as they do. They use smoke screens and sleight of hand techniques. Here are a few that are fairly common.
> I’m too busy. (You’re too busy because you keep putting things off.)
> You opt for the “simple and easy” over the “challenging and complex” to show you get things done. Just look at your checked off to-do list.
> All of your concerns are future-oriented, so it could be plausible.
> You remember times when your fear actually happened and you wish you had delayed action.
> You can remember a time or two when you put something off and it was a good thing.
The lesson is this: whenever you find yourself delaying or procrastinating, figure out what you’re afraid of. If you have any willingness to see the truth, you will admit what’s really holding you back. Once you decide what you’re afraid of, you can decide whether to go with your fear emotion or your rational thinking.