Thursday, February 18, 2010

Procrastination - Friend or Foe?

We've all been there... we have alot to do - projects to work on, priorities to get done, clients to contact, presentations to prepare, (blogs to write).... lots of things we WANT to do... but instead we find ourselves fat and happy on the couch eating chips and watching TV. What is up with that?

How many times have you frittered away hours on the computer - reaping a bountiful harvest on a virtual farm when your grass outside the window beckons to be mowed? How many times have you "awoken" to the fact that hours have gone by and nothing on your to-do list has been accomplished? WHY oh WHY does this happen to us!?!!?!

Merrium Webster defines procrastination as transitive verb : to put off intentionally and habitually intransitive verb : to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Do you see that word? That beautiful word!?! INTENTIONALLY. This means yes people, we CHOOSE to procrastinate. It's not a reflex, it's not sub-conscious... its a choice! So if we find ourselves procrastinating ... what is our intention of doing so?

I am reminded of a coaching client, Jane*. Jane came to me because she was literally hours away from completion of sending in her coursework to become a certified life coach. I thought it was a clear cut case - help Jane stay focused, hold her accountable to complete the course work and hand it in. Simple - right?

Well, not so much. If handing in her coursework was that simple, she would have done it already. She really, really wanted to have her certification. So why did she keep procrastinating on completing her assignments?

Through coaching, we discovered that Jane had alot of clearing to do. Her environment was not suitable for her - she was in an apartment that did not suit her needs, or the needs of her son.

She had finances to settle, gremlins to tame, and confidence to build. The moral of the story was, she wasn't yet ready to be a certified coach. Success was still waiting for her. Once she cleared a path for herself - moved to a more suitable home, cleared her finances, and focused on herself, she finally was ready to move on and pursue her personal dream of being a motivational speaker and coach.

Procrastination is usually a symptom of another need in your life. You may need rest. You may need a break. You may need more facts. You may need more time You may need confidence, self assurance, or practice.

So the next time you find yourself on Facebook frittering the hours away instead of tackling housework, your to-do list, or contacting clients... ask yourself... "What is my intention by choosing to put off this task?"

If your answer is "I need a break from the task at hand"... then schedule the break - set a timer, and go ahead and pass virtual drinks, throw water balloons and milk your virtual cow ... when the timer goes off, honor your choice to take the break, and set an intention to tackle the task at hand.

If your answer is more complex, or if you have a hard time answering the question - consider giving your Coach a call. Some clarity on your intentions can help you change procrastination from a foe, to a friend.

~ Coach Priscilla