Updated: May 26
Do you find yourself deciding to do something, but then struggle to be consistent and feel lazy or judge yourself because of it?
Do you worry you aren't getting enough of the right things done or you keep getting off track?
If procrastination is knocking out your productivity and your flow, this article will make clear just how procrastination works and how it is unique to you.
That’s right, your mind is creating your procrastination! And understanding HOW you 'DO' procrastination is the first step to identifying the real root causes and get back into action.
In this article, I'll show you how to work with your own mind to understand how you are procrastinating. Then I’ll share unique and challenging examples of procrastination I've seen in my breakthrough coaching and how they were actually created by the deep mind.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is not laziness. Laziness is about being unwilling to use energy to accomplish something. Procrastination on the other hand, happens when your mind actively makes a choice to do something other than the task you've previously decided you want to do.
Studies show that 95% of people procrastinate. It can and does make decisions that cause us to act automatically without being consciously aware at all.
How does the mind work?
The mind has two parts that work differently. The conscious or rational part of our mind that does our logical thinking and the unconscious part of our mind, which holds our memories and where our emotions come from.
What's not that well known is that the unconscious mind also holds our deep values and beliefs, and it directly drives our actions when we consciously decide to do something. It's the unconscious part of the mind that actually puts your body into action because the unconscious mind. Actually holds our beliefs and values.
Types of procrastination
Don't assume you always procrastinate in the same way. Your mind is reacting to the specifics of any given task, of situation, and different values and beliefs may be at play.
I've noticed three forms of procrastination that operate in different ways, but which all show the power of the unconscious mind to win out over our rational intentions whenever they're in conflict.
#1 I want to do this, but my unconscious believes I shouldn't.
This first type of procrastination happens when the unconscious mind thinks the task what we need to do challenges a core need like safety or connection. Example: A client was avoiding having an important conversation, because deep down he was afraid it would badly and badly damage his relationship. (He wasn’t consciously aware of this).
#2 I want to do this, but the unconscious doesn't believe.
This second type of procrastination happens when we have consciously decided we need to do something but there are other unconscious beliefs (beliefs we are not aware of) that are in conflict with that decision. Example: A client was procrastinating making leadership decisions because deep down her mind believed that when she asserts herself, she really badly hurts other people. (She wasn’t consciously aware of this).
#3 I want this, but my unconscious is protecting me.
The third type of procrastination happens when you want something consciously, but deep down your unconscious mind doesn't think it’s good for you. Example: A client is procrastinating taking steps to expand his business because deep down his mind thinks it will bring much more work and that will actually make him sick. (She wasn’t consciously aware of this).
How to overcome procrastination
To understand how you procrastinate, always make sure to recall a memory of a specific time when you procrastinated about a specific task.
Notice in the memory, what did you specifically choose to do instead of the task you needed to?
To to do this, close your eyes. Notice the moment when you were procrastinating and rewind the movie of your memory to the moment where your focus diverted.
And for the critical insight, notice how you feel in your body, right before you made that choice to procrastinate to do something else. What emotions were present before you chose the distraction? Was there a negative emotion like anxiety? Or anger or frustration? Was your choice to move away from that emotion?
Since emotions are the native language of our unconscious and they directly correspond to the choices that we make, then the emotions that are present in a moment, you procrastinate hold the secret to specifically how you made the choice. Your unconscious mind always makes choices that are gonna get the best outcome for you, even if it's not what you consciously chose.
Procrastination is a common issue that can be difficult to overcome. However, by understanding the type of procrastination you have and the emotions that are present in the moment, you can gain insight into the real drivers, which is the first step to knocking it out for good.
If you struggle with procrastination in indecision or other unconscious reactions or triggers and want to understand what's really going on in your deep mind, check out our Busy to Balanced masterclass.