Real procrastinators tell themselves five lies

6 Jan, 2015 Productivity

it’s easy to tell whether you’re a real procrastinator, and this comes from a study done by the psychology professors from DePaul University, and I love this. Real procrastinators tell themselves five lies, and I want you to listen to see if you fit into any of these five lies.

Number one, real procrastinators overestimate the time that they have left to perform a task. How many of us in college were up at 3:00 in the morning cramming for that test that’s the next morning? I know I did it, and I’m sure many of you did it as well. Or, you have a deadline where you have to get something done at work. And how many of you overestimate, like, “Oh, I’ll be able to get to it,” but then things come up, phone calls come up, and before you know it, you’re not meeting your deadline?

Lie number two, real procrastinators underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks. So, I said overestimate the time that they have left to perform the task. But, they underestimate how long it’s actually going to take. Procrastinators tend to think like, “Oh, that’s easy. I’ll get to it later.” But then, when they actually get down to the project, it is a lot more work than they anticipated.

Number three, procrastinators overestimate how motivated they’re going to feel the next day, the next week, the next month, whatever they’re putting things off to. How often have you said, “Oh, I’ll start my diet on Monday? Oh, I don’t really feel like it today, because it’s Saturday and we’re going to a party. But Monday, I am going to be ready to roll.” Or, you wake up in the morning and you don’t feel like working out, so you turn the alarm off and you say, “You know what…I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll have more energy.” Real procrastinators overestimate that they are going to be feeling great the next day, but the reality is that they don’t. And again, they just keep putting it off and off and off and off.

That also goes in relationships. How many couples’ spouses say they’re going to spend more time with their spouse? Or, “You know what…tomorrow we’ll have a date night,” or, “Next week we’ll go out and spend some time together,” or, “we’ll have that one-on-one time,” but then we know that time never comes.

Lie number four is real procrastinators mistakenly think that succeeding at a task requires that they feel like doing it. So, if you’re a procrastinator, like I said before, you don’t really feel like doing it, so you almost legitimize the fact of why you can put it off until later. You’re not really going to feel like doing something you need to do. That’s the point of doing it now, whether you feel like it or not. We all get trapped in that mood or the feeling that we have to feel a certain way to do certain things. It’s just not true.

And finally, lie number five is real procrastinators mistakenly believe that working when not in the mood is sub optional, meaning again, the put things off or, “I don’t really feel like sending out those emails today,” or, “I don’t really feel like following up with all the people I met at that networking event. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Well, just because you don’t really feel like it doesn’t mean that that’s an acceptable excuse.

So, procrastinators are looking for distraction, whether we know it or not. Subconsciously or consciously, we’re looking for distractions. We’re looking for things that can maybe pull us away from some of the things we want to do, even if it’s subconscious. Some of us are afraid of success. Some of you might have a fear of, “Oh, what if it doesn’t work,” or, “What if I don’t succeed, so I’m not even going to bother trying.” We may be looking for these distractions, especially ones that don’t take a lot of commitment on our part. Checking email, like I said, is a perfect, perfect example of that.

But the dirty little secret is that procrastinators distract themselves as a way of regulating their own emotions, such as that fear of failure.


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