The Psychology of Procrastination

The Psychology of Procrastination

Peter Bregman (whose blog posts I love, by the way), writes about the unspoken psychology of procrastination:

Here’s the thing: More often than not, our fear doesn’t help us avoid the feelings; it simply subjects us to them for an agonizingly long time. We feel the suffering of procrastination, or the frustration of a stuck relationship. I know partnerships that drag along painfully for years because no one is willing to speak about the elephant in the room. Taking risks, and falling, is not something to avoid. It’s something to cultivate. But how?

Practice.

Which you get by taking risks, feeling whatever you end up feeling, recognizing that it didn’t kill you, and then getting on the board and paddling back into the surf.

If I’ve struggled with one major productivity demon, it’s procrastination. Some days I just dive in and muscle through my insane tasklist with reckless abandon; other days I find myself putting off petty, stupid things, tasks others would just simply do. Over the past two years, I’ve been much better about this, but I often wonder about the psychology that lies behind the fog of procrastination. Bregman’s view that we ‘fear the feelings’ that failure and rejection cause as the source of procrastination is a good one.

If this sounds like you, allow me to recommend Julian Smith’s e-book The Flinch and Steven Pressfield’s Do The Work and The War of Art. Those three books right there are life changing, and The Flinch is a free download on Amazon. I cannot recommend them enough.

But first, read Bregman’s whole post over at Harvard Business Review. It’s worth your time.