Do you procrastinate?
I write four to eight blogs per month. I have done this for the last six years. Why then does my marketing person have to nag me for articles every month? Why am I having trouble writing the Shy Person’s Guide to Procrastination?
I am procrastinating. Dragging my feet. Reluctantly taking on even the tasks I assign myself.
This morning I made breakfast, straightened up the house, updated a resume, did a load of laundry all while knowing that I missed my deadline. The marketing people are kicking at leaves, probably muttering bad things under their breath and still I procrastinate.
Procrastination is the art of avoiding what needs to be done. According to an article by Hara Estroff Marano in Psychology Today, “procrastinators sabotage themselves… (by choosing) paths that hurt their performance”. Sometimes this is a habit, a lifestyle. She says procrastinators are not born, they are made. This is a learned trait. Sometimes it is a form of rebellion. Sometimes a form of avoidance.
Shy people are often fearful of being in situations that might result in feeling diminished or rejected. If fear takes over, then it becomes easier to stay in place (procrastinate) than to take action. I recognize this feeling in myself. Not even putting the activity in my schedule will spur me to action.
Here are some tips for doing what needs to be done:
- Give yourself a motivation, perhaps something that impacts someone else, not focused on yourself.
- Plan a reward for finishing the task. Today I get to go to a Toastmasters meeting if I finish four blogs. I am excited about the meeting so I am writing my little fingers off to finish four articles that should have been completed two weeks ago.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Attack the tasks with full energy for 26 minutes. When the bell rings you get to take a break. This technique forces you to focus for short bursts to improve your attention span and concentration.
- Break the activity down into smaller components then attack the smaller components bit by bit. That might reduce the fear while giving a sense of accomplishment along the way.
- Try meditation. Tony Stubblebine of Coach.me calls meditation “pushups for the mind”. Meditation increases focus at the subconscious level.
- Make a commitment related to the avoided task. For example, if I have to share the blog with someone for feedback on a certain date will almost certainly motivate me to finish so I don’t disappoint that person. With that said, I am aware that I am disappointing my marketing team. I did not say this was logical!
Procrastination for shy people is probably about avoidance. Consider the real reason why you are avoiding the task. There is probably something deeper going on that should be considered. Do I really want to keep writing blogs? If I did then I wouldn’t delay writing blogs. Hmmm… I need to explore that…