Procrastination (Functional Delays)

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I’m the WORST procrastinator!

I’ve heard this from at least 20% of my clients (which confuses me because they can’t ALL literally be the worst! It can only be one of you!). So each time we start talking about procrastination, it’s helpful to do a little fun-ctional assessment to figure out what’s going on. Like, we can see that procrastination is the topography of the behavior – you know, the stuff of form and shape, the stuff we can see you doing – but how is procrastinating functioning for you? Aside from making you feel like crap about how you manage you time, what does procrastination really do for you?

Me: So. The Worst Procrastinator, huh? What’s that doing for you?

Them: Well nothing. I mean, I just don’t do things when I should do things, you know, like earlier. I wait until the laaaaast second.

Me: Yup. Got it, major delayfest. I do it too… But that delayfest might function differently for me than it does for you. And since we keep doing it, that tells us it’s working in some way. So let’s talk about what’s going on inside your skin suit when you’re procrastinating, and then what it looks like on the outside.

Here are some general responses I see.

Them (Answer 1): Oh. Um… Well, I get super overwhelmed by the thing I’m supposed to do and then I don’t do it until I absolutely have to do it. Sometimes I don’t do it at all.

Read: Procrastinating functioning as a skills deficit, present moment awareness, and/or avoidance. If this resonates, you can stop procrastinating and only read the musings and strategies section that applies to you.

Them (Answer 2): Oh. Um… Well I don’t really know where to start the thing, so I think or worry about it incessantly, basically until I absolutely have to do it, and then I do the thing and it’s kind of crappy but kind of not and at least it’s done.

Read: Procrastinating functioning as fusion, a skills deficit, or avoidance. If this resonates with you, solve your procrastination issue and jump down to the musings and strategies section section. Also, if you saw the word fusion and thought, ‘WTF is that,’ check out my blog on how Defusion Equals Not Diffusion.

Them (Answer 3): Oh. Um… Well, I want to make sure that I have enough time to do it the way it should be done and I delay until I have the time but then time runs out and I have to get it done so I throw the thing together and it’s not even close to as good as it should be but at least it’s done. Then I spend hours beating myself up for turning in such a crappy thing.

Read: Procrastinating functioning as perfectionism, inaction, and/or avoidance. If this resonates with you, practice reading this blog imperfectly and take action by jumping to the musings and strategies section section.

Them (Answer 4): Oh. Um… Well, I get stuck in this decision spiral and I keep changing my mind about it. Then time runs out and whatever the decision was at the last minute is the decision I go with.

Read: Procrastinating functioning as orientation towards a feared-future, avoidance or inaction. See what it feels like to make an quick fire decision and jump to the musings and strategies section section.

Them (Answer 5): Oh. Um… Well, I’m terrified of doing it wrong. In fact, there are some things I’ve procrastinated so long they are no longer things in my life.

Read: Procrastinating functioning as avoidance, inaction, or unclear values. I have a whole blog post on my own procrastination as it pertains to answer 5.

Them (Answer 6): Oh. Um… Well… It’s kind of just who I am… A major procrastinator!

Read: Self-as-content, fusion.

Each of these reads gives me a little bit of info about the direction we might choose to move forward with the issue of procrastination. While these lines of thinking are by no means hard and fast rules – as in, I have the capacity to be wrong even if I do everything in my power to avoid that – I’ll share what I start thinking when each answer floats across the virtual or actual room. I’ll also share some strategies for proceeding with treatment.

Clinical Musings and Strategies for Treatment

No matter the function of your procrastination, if you’re wanting to get a BIG life started, hit us up and we are happy to support you on that journey.