We can describe procrastination as this resistance which prevents you from following through on what you said you would do.
You can also think of it as the act of delaying or putting off a task to engage in activities that seem more pleasurable.
You give yourself all kinds of excuses such as why now is not the best time, that you will do it later or someday, that you don’t feel like it right now, or that you are tired. You think that later it might be easier, or that you will feel more enthusiastic about it.
Procrastination is called the thief of life because it makes you spend precious time on low value tasks and stress relieving distractions. When the deadline is looming, you end up rushing your most important tasks at the last minute or even never doing them at all.
We all suffer from procrastination to a certain extent. The only difference is that some procrastinate on small things and others on important things that can change their lives.
Why do coaches and therapists procrastinate ?
Reason 1: It’s the brain’s fault
According to behavioural psychology research, there is a phenomenon of the brain called “time inconsistency”. The human brain is wired to put more value on immediate rewards rather than future ones. You are pulled towards procrastination again and again despite your good intentions with tasks.
You are made up of two selves; your future self and your present self. Whenever you are setting goals, say finishing a task on time or acquire 3 new coaching clients this month, you are making plans with and for your future self.
The thing is, the future self greatly values long-term rewards and this is why it is very good at setting goals. However, that’s all it can do. The present self is the one responsible for taking action.
There is something about the present self that you should know: it really loves to feel good at the moment - to get instant gratification.
When you are making a decision whether to do something or not, you are in the present moment and thus your future self who planned the event some time ago is no longer involved; it is the present self at play now and it wants the available benefits here and now and does not care about the future.
The brain loves to make plans for the future, but the part of it that is associated with action craves instant gratification. This explains why you know you should do something and you want to do it, and that a sacrifice now will have future benefits, but a conflicting force pushes you to put it off because of a more pleasurable thing you can do right now. The present self is in conflict with the future self because they want different things.
Reason 2: Fear of failure and success
The second major reason why as a practice owner you procrastinate is when you know you don’t have the required knowledge, skills or resources to handle a project. You become afraid to take it on and risk failing. This fear keeps you from beginning a task; you will either avoid it entirely or put it off in order to “search” for the resources or take the time to“prepare yourself”.
Later, you can always blame it on the lack of time and rationalize that you would have done a better job if you had more time and that what you have delivered doesn’t represent your best results.
We strive so hard to succeed. This is why it seems absurd that someone would be afraid to succeed – but this fear is another major cause for procrastination. Many people dread the spotlight and do not want to stand out and risk attracting attention to them because now that they have proved their abilities, they would “graduate” to more challenging tasks. Therefore, a common strategy is to procrastinate and remain behind the scenes to protect one’s self worth behind the fantasy of the “unrealized full potential”.
Fortunately you can work on your self-confidence and slowly but surely believe that you can keep on accomplishing the bigger tasks that come with success, or any everyday task for that matter. When your self-confidence gets stronger, doubting in your abilities when faced by a challenging task is less likely to arise.