Why do we Procrastinate?

We procrastinate to avoid doing a task which needs to be accomplished.  Instead we do more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carry out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones and we put off impending tasks to a later time.

But why do we procrastinate? What if it’s because we don’t like how it makes us feel?  It could be that we feel confused. Maybe that’s why we seek to do more pleasurable things or less urgent tasks because they make us feel better or calmer.

My stomach churns.  I feel CONFUSED.  I don’t know which task to do, the most important one which makes my stomach churn, or the easier one which makes me feel calmer. What about my deadline –the CONFUSION grows.  I procrastinate – I walk away and think I’ll do it tomorrow.

In Language of Emotions Karla McLaren writes:  “Confusion arises when you can’t or won’t access your fears and you’ve lost your instincts.  Confusion actually tries to protect you by halting your actions, but it can easily spiral into a persistent and unresolving state”.

When we are confused we dither, change our minds constantly and we are unable to focus. We can’t decide what we want and can dissociate.  It’s actually masking our fear or vulnerability. We are afraid that we might not make the right decisions, we can’t move ahead because we might move the wrong way, we can’t think clearly because we can’t translate, store or retrieve information properly and we’ve often disconnected from the lessons of the past, so we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Our mind can’t focus, our emotions swirl and our body loses touch with its instincts and our attention flies off to a more peaceful perch somewhere above the commotion, OR we do something to distract ourselves, something easier, more pleasurable and we decide we’ll come back to our task another time!

But what if we stop for a moment when we notice our confusion and instead of procrastinating notice how we FEEL?

If we feel confused we can stop and unmask our confusion and revive our instincts and intuition and discover why we’re being prevented from taking decisive action.

Confusion stops us for a reason!

Most often confusion happens when our behavior or motivation isn’t in line with our purpose in life. So pushing forward or through our confusion will only take us further off our path, so in fact CONFUSION can be seen as an important emotional block!

I can recount an incident that happened this week. I found out that my normal workshop assistant is not available for a workshop in two weeks’ time. I knew that I needed to find someone else, but then I thought perhaps I could manage without one. My mind went into overdrive “What if I can’t find someone else at this late stage, I can manage myself, but what if I can’t” and then “I don’t need to make a decision now, I can leave it until tomorrow!”  The procrastination kicked in.

Fortunately I stopped myself and felt my confusion.  I asked myself: “What is my intention?” The answer came “To provide a quality programme.” I asked myself: “So what action wants to happen to provide that?” The answer came “To find someone else to assist me”. No sooner this answer came I felt calm, I contacted the person I had hoped might be able to help me and as luck would have it she is free for those days!

If you push ahead you will likely make a mistake, but if you can stop and question your intentions and motivations you will be able to reassess your situation. It’s often at this point that it becomes glaringly clear WHY you have been unable to act!

So, when you are about to procrastinate take the time to stop. If you feel confused this is what you can you do differently.

  • Notice how you are feeling.  Honour your confusion and the underlying vulnerability
  • Allow yourself to listen to the message of confusion to STOP and take the time to ask the internal questions.
  • Ask yourself “What’s your intention?”
  • Then ask yourself “What action wants to happen to provide that?

You simply ask yourself what your intention is NOT which choice you should make, what thing you should do, but what your intention is.  Questioning your intentions will almost always help you pinpoint why your intuition and your focus have departed.

When you can identify your intention your confusion lifts and release the desire to procrastinate! Your real feelings come forward and focus and grounding comes back. You can realign your intentions, instincts and behavior.

You can identify what needs to happen and do it NOW!


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