Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow?
This was a sign proudly displayed in the office of a lawyer I visited some years ago. At the time, the lawyer was married, moderately successful, and wore his procrastination as a badge of honor. Now he is divorced, the sign is gone, and so is he.
The Emotion and Psychology of Procrastination
Understanding and addressing procrastination is difficult. One of the better explanations of this behavior appeared in a post on The Productive Mindset in 2010. Here are the takeaways:
- Procrastination is not a time-management problem, it is a self-regulation problem.
- Procrastinators often have anxiety or doubts about their abilities, or about the perception others have of their abilities.
- Many procrastinators would prefer others think they lack drive instead of providing the opportunity for others to question their capabilities.
- Underlying fear of failure or fear of success is common among procrastinators.
Fear, Anxiety, and Doubt
While the original Mindset post is no longer available, Googling “the psychology and behaviors of procrastination” reinforces that fear, anxiety, and doubt are major players here.
Does This Sound Like You?
- Do you put off taking care of important things to the point of jeopardizing relationships, career, finances, or health?
- Do you put off doing what you need to do until a crisis develops?
- Do you put off doing tasks unless you can do them perfectly or until you can find the perfect time to do them?
- Do you hesitate taking necessary action because you fear change?
- Do you think about things you’d like to do but rarely get around to doing them?
- Do you believe that projects or tasks will somehow take care of themselves?
- Do you overcommit yourself?
- Do you tend to do only what you want to do instead of what you should do?
- Do you tend to do only what you think you should do instead of what you want to do?
Adapted from It’s About Time, by Dr. Linda Sapadin with Jack Maguire [Procrastination Self Test.]
Ending the Paralysis and Self Sabotage
We all procrastinate occasionally. But if putting things off is affecting your practice, home life, health, or finances – don’t struggle alone.
The Oregon Attorney Assistance Program offers “Getting It Done” workshops that offer practical, individualized techniques to effectively address procrastination. In addition to the workshop, Oregon lawyers are encouraged to contact an Attorney Counselor at any time for help with this issue. The Oregon Attorney Assistance Program is free and confidential.
You can read more about the paralysis of procrastination here.
All Rights Reserved  Beverly Michaelis