Procrastination Part I – What is it Really?

Procrastinate: “to put off doing something until a later date.” (Webster’s Dictionary.)

I find this definition does not help us understand the energy that surrounds this topic for so many people. We make choices every day to put off many things. Indeed, choosing what to put off is a part of effective time management. Obviously not everything can be done now. So what is really meant by “procrastination?”

I have surveyed my clients and looked around on the web and found that in general the most widely accepted definition is “the act of putting off essential tasks until a later time; usually doing non-essential tasks instead.” For example, I have an important report due for a client by the end of next week. Instead of working on the report, I check my email or I work on organizing a client file. I may even go on Facebook.

Why would someone do such a thing? I mean, if you see the most essential thing to do wouldn’t you just do it? Let’s start with this question. After years of coaching on this topic, I believe the most common reasons for procrastination (as defined by me and not Webster’s) are as follows:

1. Sometimes we don’t clearly see which is the most essential task.

2. Sometimes we don’t enjoy doing the most essential task.

3. Sometimes the most essential task is too big or daunting so we put it off believing that later we will have enough time or, perhaps more important, more energy.

procrastination part I

Over the coming weeks, I will examine each of these challenges in turn and possible solutions as well.  I recently sent out a newsletter on procrastination and people were interested in learning more.  This is the first of a five-part blog series on procrastination.

Comment and let us know why do YOU procrastinate?

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About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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