When we ask ourselves why we procrastinate, a couple of reasons come easily to mind: That we are lazy, and that we suck at time management. The first is actively unhelpful. The time management explanation is also a distraction.
Time management skills are important, don’t get me wrong. Planning, timeboxing, project tracking and to-do lists are all valuable, but you can have all of those things and still be a world-class procrastinator.
Because to not procrastinate means to do the thing that really matters. And the thing that really matters is usually highly emotionally significant. There is a lot at stake, including our beliefs about ourselves. Ironically, a lot of strategies to beat procrastination involve recrimination and punishment – perhaps something we first experience from our early caregivers, and later inflict on ourselves. For that reason, one of the first things I discuss with clients in tackling procrastination is self compassion, with patience and persistence.
Does this mean letting yourself off the hook? No! Have high expectations of yourself. Aim to be a better person, have a better life and have a greater positive impact on those you come in contact with.
But let go of the self-blame and be strategic instead.