Why You Are Addicted To Procrastination

addicted to procrastinationIt sounds rather funny if you think about it. That you are actually addicted to procrastination and that is why putting things off and putting things off is a common theme in your life. We can become addicted to procrastination and this is why…

Why You Are Addicted To Procrastination

First let us discuss procrastination a little bit, what it is, and what it costs you. One of my favorite jokes ever has to do with procrastination… Procrastination is a lot like masturbation… at first it seems like a great idea but in the end, all you do is end up screwing yourself.

When you are procrastinating, you are not moving forward, you are not building momentum, and you are not doing anything. Procrastination is a form of self-punishment all by itself. By putting things off that need to be done, it only serves to fuel a more negative self-image.

Procrastination is a huge example of how we undermine our success and progress in life. Putting things off until “tomorrow” is rather delusional is it relies on the belief that your “future self” is going to be more self-disciplined, smarter, motivated, etc, than your current self.

But how is procrastination addictive and why do we become addicted to procrastination if procrastination is such a detrimental behavior to begin with?

Well, I will tell you… it’s not an addiction to the procrastination per se, but rather an addiction to the drama and tension that procrastination creates. Think about it…

Your credit card bill, it’s due the same day every month, month after month. Have you ever waited until the last possible moment to make that payment? Maybe right up to the minute that you don’t know if the payment will even be on time?

It wasn’t because you didn’t have the money or the time to make the payment… you procrastinated because deep down you desired and maybe even craved a little drama, some tension, and some excitement in your life…

That same theory can be applied to hundreds of things that we tend to procrastinate about in our lives… paying bills, getting our taxes done, or anything where there is a timeline and not meeting it might have a negative impact… It’s a non-productive way that we “flirt with danger.” Think of college students who don’t write their research papers until the night before, or study for that exam until it is nearly too late.

I think as humans we try to get away with as much as possible for as long as we can get away with it. Unfortunately, the more we get away with this sort of behavior, the more we indulge in it, including myself.

When I was getting my Masters in counseling the first year or so of the program I was really good at getting my research papers completed well before the deadline and handed in. But that second year, that space of time began to shrink. I handed in my finished papers in less time and still got good grades until finally it came down to me not writing my papers until the day before.

Now I joked with myself that it was all okay. As one of my classmates was fond of saying, “the paper will come when the paper will come.” Meaning that it isn’t worth the effort of fighting and struggling to write a paper if the “flow” wasn’t there. My other “excuse” which might be more valid was that even if I wasn’t sitting at the keyboard working on the paper I was continuously processing the paper and formulating it in my mind for days so that when I did sit down to write, it was already “on deck” and ready to be written.

To be honest, I believe that to some degree I liked the tension that was created by waiting to the last minute; the fear of not getting it done with the relief of getting it done which followed. Of course, my behavior was “rewarded” and thus “reinforced” as I kept getting good grades… and that didn’t deter the procrastination one bit… quite the opposite. It enabled it!

So if procrastination is something that you wrestle with, maybe it isn’t because you are lazy or lack self-discipline, it could just be that you are addicted to procrastination, the drama and the tension, and the rush that it creates in your life thus alleviating maybe some boredom that or other lack of fulfillment.

And if you are bored in life… well, maybe you ought to read this… Bored? You need bigger goals!

“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.” – Mason Cooley

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 23 September 2012

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