Yep I’m serious. There’s a way to stop ‘procrastinating’.
How? Well, I’m going to suggest there’s no such thing as procrastination. I mean yes, there’s a word and a set of associations that go with it.
But I’m suggesting that by treating it as a meaningful phenomenon like it’s some deep-seated childhood trauma or pervasive psycho-sexual dysfunction, we give it more power than it deserves.
I’m suggesting that the idea of a problem beneath the label doesn’t serve you.
The Procrastination Label
Let’s say there’s something you want to do.
Well, why don’t you?
Oh I really struggle with procrastination.
Oh I have so many goals but my problem is procrastination.
Oh my life would be so different if I could just break through this procrastination.
Here’s the real why. It’s actually way less complicated than that whole procrastination palaver.
Procrastination And Physics
You don’t start because starting is hard.
In fact starting is so hard, it’s a law of science:
An object at rest continues at rest unless acted upon by a force.
You are that object and to move from rest to motion takes work.
Interestingly, as we all know from our own experience, once you start, continuing is not so bad. Or to add on the second part of Newton’s First Law:
An object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by a force.
Once you’ve started, it’s easy to keep going. Often you wonder why you waited so long to begin.
Never ‘Procrastinate’ Again
I try to avoid labels*. Like many labels, procrastination doesn’t serve you. It gives a simple reality a complicated mythology. It allows for endless navel-gazing and psycho(over)analysis, when all you really need may be to acknowledge that, you know what? Starting is hard.
*Except the ones I make with my label maker. I LOVE those.
So here’s my suggestion. Don’t use the procrastination label. Don’t imbue your simple, natural resistance to starting with mystical powers. Make like MC Hammer and break it down to the basic reality: the fact that starting is hard.
When you strip it down to this level, you’re left with two simple options:
- Decide that starting is too hard right now, and make the choice to postpone. Don’t beat yourself up – just recognize that you’re making a choice and take responsibility for it. You’re no longer procrastinating; you’re now making a decision. Own it, baby.
- Decide that starting is worth the effort, and begin. Feel great about the fact that starting is hard, much of the time and for most people, and yet you’ve pushed through. Yay!
The Label Can Make You Feel Like A Victim
By seeing your choices this way, you’ll never ‘procrastinate’ again.
By abandoning the very idea of procrastination you’ll reduce every choice to this: starting is hard – will I start?
You’ll be no worse off than when you called it procrastination, but you’ll be free of self-serving stories and justifications. You’ll no longer be a victim of some perverse affliction. You’ll be empowered to make a simple choice.
And when you look at it that simply, when your choice is that clear – you may choose differently.
Are You Ready To Abandon ‘Procrastination’ Forever?
What do you think?
Will you try abandoning the procrastination label?
Let me know if it makes a difference!