Do you perpetually put off certain tasks? Does it take a heap load of will power to start and even then you fizzle out quickly? Is finishing your project like trying to light a fire in a wet, damp environment…nothing seems to light the fire under your bum to actually get the project to completion?
This can be really frustrating, especially if you are normally the “get it done” type. I know from personal experience!
I often hear from otherwise high-performing women who just can’t make sense of the procrastination they feel. We tend to focus on how much we can DO as a symbol of our strength as a woman. Productivity and efficiency reign supreme in today’s world. We feel guilty or shamed when we catch ourselves procrastinating.
Why We Don’t Need to Avoid Procrastination
We’ve been taught that procrastination is something to avoid. It means we aren’t trying hard enough, or we don’t have what it takes to follow through. But with all behavior there is a positive intention behind those moments of procrastination. Sometimes we’d be better off honoring the wisdom of our intuition than trying to force ourselves to take that next step.
Here are three surprising ways procrastination can benefit you.
1. Help You Avoid a Bad Situation
Sometimes procrastination can actually be your intuition trying to steer you clear of a project or relationship or job change that isn’t right for you…right now. When you trust in the divine timing of life you know that things will start to fall into place much easier if you just pause for the time being. Staying tuned in to your intuition allows you to listen more clearly and receive direction about the next right step for YOU! It’s not about what your boss, your parents or your friends want you to do. It’s really an inner knowing about what’s right for you.
2. Get Clear On Your Priorities
The next way procrastination can show up is if we just downright dislike the task. Let’s be honest, how many people enjoy filing emails, or responding to customer complaints. This is the perfect time to get ultra clear on your priorities. In this scenario it’s important to recognize that you have a choice: 1) you can hire someone else, 2) set aside time to do it or 3) not do it. When we procrastinate we are getting clues about how we prefer to spend our time. There is nothing wrong with owning your strengths and getting help everywhere else. If you want to get more done, spend more time working in your zone of genius.
3. Recognize It’s Time for a Break
Ever worked so hard you had nothing left to give at the end of the project or task? Sometimes we attempt to jump right into the next thing and what we really need is a break. We need a chance to reflect, recover, and rejuvenate. But in today’s world it is viewed as lazy so we keep moving forward. If you find yourself struggling to get started with the next thing, chances are it’s time for a time-out. Once you have honored the wisdom that comes with inaction you will be super-charged when the time is right to move into action.
When Procrastination Is a Problem
If you find yourself regularly struggling to get started, or complete something, it’s time for some self-reflection. Sometimes procrastination is masquerading as fear.
We delay starting or finishing things because we are afraid of the outcome. As an example I delayed looking for a job for many years, even though I was suffering in a toxic work environment. I was truly afraid of what might happen if I actually got that other job. Or you may procrastinate on putting together your resume or completing a big project because you are afraid you will fail.
It’s time to look at what you are afraid to face when you start to let procrastination become a habit. You can ask a trusted friend, colleague or professional to help you identify all the ways you keep yourself safe by procrastinating.
How do you know if it’s fear or intuition?
As women it’s important for us to get clear about what is stopping us: fear or intuition?
It all has to do with your “come from.” This is the lense you are using when you make a decision to procrastinate.
Try this exercise to get clear on your come from.
- Take a few deep breathes and close your eyes. Start to really feel every body part from your head to your toes. Then think about the thing you’ve been procrastinating about. Notice where it comes up in your body.
- Then think about something that would be really scary…telling your boss no, or not delivering on a project and notice where you feel that in your body. Most of us feel that fear as a ball of tension in our stomach or a tightening in our chest.
- Now think about a time you just intuitively knew something. Where in your body do you feel that? It may feel like a sense of peace has washed over you. Or perhaps your heart feels more open and expansive.
- Typically we feel our intuition in a different area of our body than we feel fear. Start noticing how each feels. This is a great way to help you figure out if your stalling out for a good reason or not.
Many women are disconnected from their intuition so if you are unable to feel the difference between fear and intuition in your body try a longer meditation or even a yoga class. Over time you will learn to discern the difference and cultivate a trust in your body. You can also use this 5 minute guide to help you decide whether your intuition or fear is in charge.
How has procrastination supported you? Let us know in the comments below.