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Procrastination: How to get moving & Get Things Done!

Dealing with Procrastination – Jeremiah’s Problem






Jerimiah has a problem with procrastinating. But Robert Jenkins, his counselling therapist and Jerimiah came up with all the advantages of procrastinating.


  • Why do it right away? Tomorrow will be a better day to do it

  • Right now, I need more sleep

  • There’s something really good on TV right now

  • I may not be in the mood. Best to wait until I am.

  • I’ve done enough work for the day

  • I need some time to relax

  • It’s not necessary to do it right now

  • It will take too much time

  • It will be too hard

  • It will be too upsetting

  • I have other more important things to do.

“Mr. Jenkins, I am pretty responsible but I tend to let slide such things as answering texts from my ex-wife about the care of our children. I don’t get back to her right away.”

“Tell me about that, Jerimiah.”

“Well, my wife gets anxious about the kids. Stuff like, “Did I remember warm clothes?” or “How did the dentist's visit go?”

“She gets anxious.”

“Yes, and that causes conflicts which I don’t need and which I could have avoided.”

“But you procrastinated.”

“Yes, I procrastinated.”

“So, you want some help with procrastinating? You figure the disadavantages to procrastinating outweigh the advantages?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Okay, Jerimiah, if you really want to go that way and not pay attention to all the advantages of procrastinating, we can. I have a form to pinpoint your reasons for procrastinating so you can better understand their power to date. Sounds good?”

"Yes, Robert. Let's do it."

"By the way, Jerimiah, David Burns, the psychiatrist has other useful tips on his podcasts. Download his free podcasts using FeelingGood from itunes and listen to 075: Five Simple Ways to Boost Your Happiness -#2: Do Something You've Been Putting Off.

Robert Jenkins, the counselling therapist pulled a David Burns Procrastinating Test form from his binder. This would pinpoint his reasons for procrastinating.

"Okay, Jerimiah, tell me your answer to the following statements. It would be:

0-NOT AT ALL

1-SOMEWHAT

2-MODERATLEY

3-A LOT


"Sure, Robert."

"Okay, let me read the list. Meanwhile, you give me your answer."


1. You often put things off because you don’t feel like doing them or because you're not in the mood.

"Moderately"

2. You sometimes give up tasks because they turn out to be more frustrating and difficult than you anticipated.

"Somewhat."

3. You sometimes procrastinate because you are afraid of failure.

"Moderately."

4. You don’t like to start something if you feel you won’t be able to do it perfectly.

"Somewhat."

5. You often feel that you haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile because you're so critical of your work.

"Moderately."

6. When you procrastinate, you feel guilty and you tell myself you really should get started.

"Moderately."

7. You sometimes put things off when you feel annoyed or upset with people.

"Not at all."

8. You often agree to do things you don’t really want to do because it’s so hard for you to say no."

"Moderately."

9. You sometimes put things off because you feel that people are acting bossy and making unreasonable demands on you.

"Moderately."

10. You often feel like you have lots of things to do that you are not very committed to or enthusiastic about.

"Somewhat."

“Well, Jerimiah, it looks like the Procrastination Test revealed a lot of reasons for your delaying acting on returning your emails. You scrored 50% or 15/30.”

“Yes, I ticked a box in most of the reasons. Wow!”

“Before we go further, Jerimiah. Let me explain some things. Of course, procrastination has a lot to do with motivation. In general, the following are important points.

“Let me explain THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE: First of all, let me remind you that it is action that creates motivation and that motivation encourages more action. In a nutshell: ACTION creates MOTIVATION which creates MORE ACTION.”

So, Robert, when I ticked off ‘not in the mood’. You mean mood has nothing to do with it.”

“That’s right, Jerimiah. That feeling of ‘in the mood’ will never come because that is not how motivation works. It is action that will give you motivation. Do a little bit; then you feel good about the little bit. It is a start. You feel ‘motivated’ which brings about more action.”

Robert continued with THE MASTERY MODEL:

“Then you think along the lines of 'mastering' what you do. You tell yourself that the task will be more frustrating and difficult than you imagine. You continue to imagine that successful and productive people don’t struggle. Let’s face the truth overcoming any personal goal is stressful. If you believe that things should be easy and you shouldn’t have to struggle. Highly successful people know there will be obstacles and rejections and so forth. So, what do they do, they assume that it will be tough and then they persist despite failure the first time.”

“Yes, Robert,” replied Jerimiah. I just hate to struggle with anything.”

“You hate to struggle.”

“Yes, Robert, and to fail.”

“You don’t want to go ahead with something in case you fail?”

“That’s right. I like to have all my ducks lined up, so that everything goes smoothly.”

"I can imagine that a person could wait forever for the 'ducks to line up', for the perfect time?"

"I never thought of that. It is true that there is a risk to everything."

“Yes, that is another reason to procrastinate – the fear of failure. We can look at that. You have to remember that your accomplishments do not determine your self esteem or confidence. If you fail at work, you assume you are a failure. That is a distortion and is called labeling. You are more than what you do. Your good friends will like you for who you are, not what you do.“

“Yes, but lot’s of people value me only for what I do.”

“You are right. Is that an area that you’d like to look at, Jerimiah?”

“Absolutely!” “ Well, that can also lead us into perfectionism. You may also want to do everything perfectly. There is a way out of that. However, you’d have to realize the difference between Perfectionism and the Healthy Pursuit of Excellence.”

“Might that be something to work on, too.”

"We can work on whatever aspect of procrastination you want to work on. We can tackle, of course, one aspect at a time."

“Yes, Robert, I understand. Also, I do tend to wonder what I get out of it. If there was an immediate reward and not just drudgery. It’d be easier.”

“You got that right, Jerimiah. About that lack of rewards, you know that motivated people reward themselves for work done not matter to what level. With complete failure, the pat on the back would be, "I did my best, but procrastinators beat themselves up about ‘not good enough’ or ‘It didn’t count’. Only your thoughts can make you feel good or bad. You can learn to find your own rewards such as giving yourself credit for returning the emails promptly and then giving yourself a pat yourself on the back. You don’t need extrinsic rewards when you can reward yourself. What do you think?”

“I see what you mean. However, my wife can be bossy. I feel guilty and I tell myself, should I be doing this or shouldn’t I be doing that. So, I just get mad and do nothing.“

“You don’t like being bossed around? I wouldn’t either! Jerimiah, which aspect of procrastination did you want to begin with?”

“How about perfectionism?”

“Okay, we could do a cost benefit analysis on it, a CBA? Would that work for you?”

“First, Jerimiah, here is an outline by David Burns regarding perfectionism. This might help us?”

Robert Jenkins pulled another form from his large binder and shared it with Jerimiah.

Well according to this perfectionism has its benefits

PERFECTIONISM

1. You are motivated by the fear of failure or by a sense of duty

2. You feel driven to be number one, but your accomplishments, however great, never seem to satisfy you.

3. You feel you must earn your self-esteem You think you must be very ‘special’ or ‘intelligent’ or ‘successful’ to be loved and accepted by others.

4. You are terrified by failure. If you do not achieve an important goal, you feel like a failure as a human being.

5. You think you must always be strong and in control of your emotions. You are reluctant to share vulnerability feelings like sadness, insecurity, or anger with others. You believe they would think less of you.


Yet, according to this the oppoiste to this would be the healthy pursuit of excellence. This has its particular benefits, too.


The HEALTHY PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE


1. You are motivated by enthusiasm and you find the creative process exhilarating.

2. Your efforts give you feelings of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, even if you aren’t always “the greatest.”

3. You enjoy a sense of unconditional self-esteem. You do not feel you have to earn love and friendship by impressing people with your intelligence or your success .

4. You are not afraid to fail because you realize that no one can be successful all the time. Although failure is disappointing you see it as an opportunity for growth and learning.

5. You’re not afraid of being vulnerable or sharing your feelings with people care about. This makes you feel closer to them


"So, Jerimiah, how would you weight those two? Each has many advantages. If the advantages of perfectionism are stronger you might weight it 70% compared to only 30% for the health pursuit of excellence. What would you weight it?"



"Well, Robert, I'd wait the healthy pursuit of happiness higher than perfectionism."

"What would your percentages be?"

"Well, I'd rate perfectionism lower. I'd say 30% for perfectionism and 70% for the healthy pursuit of excellence."

"Well, that makes healthy pursuit of excellent 2 1/2 time more attractive than perfectionism."

"Yes, Robert, It is just too stressful trying to do everything perfect. Besides, it stops me from taking risks. I can understand how this is behind my procrastinating."

"Isn't it amazing how complex procrastinating at be?"

"Thank you, Robert. You got that right. THE END

See Part 2 on Procrastination

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