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?

If you like this blog, you can subscribe here to have my blog posts delivered directly to your inbox about twice a week:

About the Author

Picture of 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.

Get Our Newsletter
Recent Posts

Thoughts and Feelings

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” -William James This is a lesson I learn over and over again. We have choice in what we decide to think about. Is this a radical notion to you? Or just...

Read More
Ranger Kielak

Coach Highlight – Ranger Kielak

CM: Why did you enter TCE? And/or, what did you want to get out of it? RK: I entered TCE because I saw how valuable it was to be coached by a current student in the course. I saw my relationship improve, my mindset shift...

Read More
McLaren Coaching | Take A Break

Take A Break

I love this quote by Annie Lamott. Not just because I love Annie Lamott so much, but also because it’s just so true. When my printer doesn’t work, I unplug it. When my zoom doesn’t work, I log out and back in. This works 90%...

Read More

Coach Highlight – Sylvia Fox

CM: Why did you enter TCE? And/or, what did you want to get out of it? SF: I made the decision to join TCE to learn more about myself and show up differently in my relationships, especially with my family. I knew two friends who...

Read More

Share this Post