“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Benjamin Franklin
Of course you know what good ole Ben is referring to right? Procrastination.
I’ve always been curious as to why I put certain things off, delay, or find a reason not to do something. It’s interesting because many of these “things” are important for me to move forward, both personally and professionally.
So what does “procrastination” mean?
I was curious and looked it up. Gotta love Google right? My Mom used to love to tell me, “Look it up in the Dictionary!” Wonder where that dictionary is these days? Maybe I should go look for it?
Whoa! How quickly I can let myself get distracted from the thing I’m supposed to be focused on right now! Writing my message to you!
Here’s what I learned.
I found that [pro] means “forward” and [crastinus] means “belonging to tomorrow, put off til tomorrow, defer, delay”.
Hmmmm…there’s something deeper here worth digging for.
The nugget of truth.
What if what I’m REALLY doing is “putting off moving forward?”
When I look at WHAT I'm avoiding it's usually something new, maybe haven’t tried before or don’t have a lot of experience with. What if I'm not good at it? What if I fail miserably? And in some cases – publicly!
Ah, so what’s the biggest cause of procrastination?
What does fear do?
It causes us to avoid doing those things that bring up anxiety, worry, and feeling not good enough. Negative emotions that we don’t want to feel. Instead, we go back to doing those non important, non-urgent tasks that we know we can knock out.
A friend shared with me that she put off a series of phone calls she needed to make on behalf of her Dad. She was afraid she might get bad news. She was actually expecting to get the bad news. She kept putting off the calls until a few days before she was leaving for vacation. She took a breath and made the first call. It went fine. Better than expected. It was easier to make the next call and so on. Everything worked out. But for weeks she was overcome with fear and worry, expecting the worst. She found every other thing she had to do instead of making the calls. It put a damper on her excitement for vacation. Plus, she never escaped that nagging voice that kept telling her to make those calls.
Shine the light of awareness on the fear.
Ask yourself, “What am I avoiding? What am I afraid of?” Identify the thought at the root of the fear. Sometimes it’s that you’ve been made to feel you weren’t good enough, you don’t have what it takes, or you’ll never get it right. You can change that recording. You’ve accomplished so much already – history shows you, you can do it.
Take action toward the fear.
Set a goal for yourself and keep an open mind. Eliminate the belief that you will fail. There's no failure in learning. Encourage yourself! Guess what? That "thing" doesn't seem so scary after all...as my brave friend found...making one phone call at a time. As I find, writing one blog at a time! 🙂