Why do you procrastinate anyway? For very good reasons. That’s right. And that’s the first thing to realize. It serves you in some way. It’s simply a response to something. So you have to look underneath that response – that behavior of procrastinating.
Often it actually makes you feel safe. There’s a fear underneath – It may go something like this: “If I get this thing done, they might expect more of me, and I’m not sure I can do it.” Or “If I get this done and put myself out there, someone might ridicule me,” or “Somebody else might be jealous.”
And those fears come from somewhere – not just out of the blue. They usually stem from something that’s happened before. And part of you remembers that and doesn’t want to go there again. So you procrastinate.
There might be other reasons, too. Procrastination is an easy way to rebel. The scenario might go like this: “I’m not going to do this in your timeframe. I’m gonna do it on my own schedule.” – So the reason (feeling underneath) is anger or resentment. Or maybe you don’t like your job or that you got assigned this project. Maybe you’re mad because it’s not in the budget to pay somebody else so you’re stuck with it. Or you’re annoyed because you know your effort won’t be noticed or won’t be appreciated. So you procrastinate.
Sometimes it’s a way to stay emotionally connected to somebody – remember this is subconscious – but if your mom always procrastinated and you’re close to her, it’s another way that you’re alike. Another point of connection. Right?
Start With Questions
So what can you do about it? The first step is to do some investigation. Identify what the problem is – either on your own or with the help of a good GENTLE friend or coach. Especially be listening to yourself for illogical or childish answers.
Remember the tappable answers come from emotions – not from logic. And they often go back to things you learned very early – childhood things. So that’s why the answers might seem childish. Perfect! That’s what you’re looking for.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- If I stopped procrastinating, what would I be afraid of? I would stand out and they wouldn’t like me. I might make a mistake and then I’d be punished. I might be criticized or ridiculed. I’d be more successful than my friend/husband/sister/mother – and I might lose them – I won’t belong anymore. This is a really large emotional driver. We ALL want to belong.
- What’s the benefit/payoff to procrastinating? Maybe it’s low-key revenge. “I can’t get what I want, so they can’t either.” Or “She’s not nice to anyone, so I’ll pay her back by making her wait for this.” Or here’s a big one: “I don’t want to do this anyway but I can’t say no. If I take my time, they’ll get the message.”
- When did it start? For chronic procrastinators, this is a great question. Maybe the answer is “about 3 years ago.” Then ask yourself what big event happened then. Often it was a situation that made you feel out of control. Procrastinating – remember it’s a response – can give you a sense of having control.
EFT for this would consist of making a list of your fears and limiting beliefs and tapping to clear those.
To use EFT here, you can clear the anger at the person, or another belief that you recognize is holding you back.
To use EFT here, you can tap on that big event and clear the emotional charges around it. It’s amazing to watch your resistance just fall away. Resistance is really what procrastination is all about.
For a tap-along audio on this issue, click here to check out Overcoming Procrastination.
If this is a bigger issue than you want to tackle on your own, contact me for a free consult to discuss possibilities for going deeper with EFT. Let’s shift this challenge to get you where you want to be!