praise for procrastination!

Thought for today:  Life is chaos!
The answer? Procrastinate!

Do you have enough projects and tasks on your list to wallpaper your office? Do you have that feeling in your gut where the muscles start to tense in waves of anxiety? Is there a burning in your chest? Is your mouth is dry? Your breath shallow and your head pounding? If you are saying YES YES YES to all of these – stop what you are doing right now and procrastinate with me!

I know many of my fellow coaches are probably cringing right now, but procrastination is my favorite coping mechanism when I am facing what I perceive as insurmountable tasks. Often a well minded coach/friend will try and help me overcome my procrastination habit. The trouble is, I don’t want to overcome my avoidance / procrastination habit, because it works for me! See if you can relate to this:

procrastination in action!

I am a thinker. Once a project gets onto my ‘to-do’ list I need time to ponder, think, and mull it around a bit. Then I procrastinate. I know I ‘should’ be working on it, but I don’t. I may spend an hour here or there doing a quick google search and gathering resources or joting down an idea, but then I procrastinate some more. It’s just too overwhelming of a task (I tell myself). I put away the related material, sometimes in a pile on the floor, but usually I hide it on a shelf in my office and close the door. If I move the files on my computer to a folder for ‘safe keeping.’ I am now in full fledged avoidance. I find other things to keep myself busy, pulling weeds in the back yard, catching up on my RSS feeds, or cleaning out my desk drawers. Then when I get close to the deliverable date of the project, I experience a rush of adreneline (panic and espresso?) I clean off my desk and clear my office of all distractions. I focus like a laser on project and nothing else. What I discover is that the time between the initial resource gathering and creating the final product, my brain has actually been working on the project without me. I begin to recall events, discussions, observations in public places that will contribute to my final deliverable. The adreneline turns into excitement and the short shallow breathing becomes calm, steady, and deep.

coping mechanisms

We are complex animals living complex lives in which we are not always able to cope with the difficulties that we face. As a result, we are subject to feelings of tension and stress. To handle this discomfort we use various coping methods. These are different from defense mechanisms in that coping is done consciously and defense unconsciously. There are many different types of mechanisms, some more positive than others.

Coping mechanisms serve a purpose – what purpose is yours serving you?

what coping mechanism do you use to handle your discomfort? Is it serving you or harming you? Take a good, honest look at your habits and accept responsibility for your choices. If you are OK with them, great! If not, get the help of a professional. At least put in on your list to call someone….some day….when you get around to it 😉

Caution: avoidance is a relatively harmless method that can be useful in the short term, it can still result in significant internal damage and may end up coming out in other ways. Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or psychiatric professional.