How many times have you heard that procrastination is simple laziness, and that if you would just gut off your butt, you wouldn’t have a problem? I’ve heard it, too, more times than I can count. And as a successfully recovered procrastinator, and now a mentor to people who want to recover from procrastination, let me tell you something.
Procrastination is not about laziness, and anyone who tells you that it is, should be ignored. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They may be very intelligent. They may have a lot of knowledge in other areas. But when it comes to procrastination, they simply do not have the knowledge and understanding to have a valid, informed opinion, and you shouldn’t take their advice. They are not going to be helpful to you.
This is the same principle that says you wouldn’t ask a computer programmer to unplug your bathroom drains, and you wouldn’t ask a plumber to clean the viruses off of your computer. If someone doesn’t know the field they’re giving advice in, you don’t want their advice. And anyone who tells you that procrastination is about laziness, can’t help you because they’re not informed and knowledgeable when it comes to procrastination—no matter what else they may be very good at.
Yeah, I’ve heard it, too.
Now, I think that the people who say “procrastination is laziness” mean well, generally. They honestly think that they’re saying the truth. But they don’t struggle with procrastination, and they have not studied procrastination. So they simply do not understand how debilitating chronic procrastination is; they can’t.
They really don’t understand that relating procrastination to laziness hurts people; they’re trying to help. But their lack of malice doesn’t make what they’re saying any less damaging.
I used to suffer from chronic procrastination myself, and I understand what you’re going through. I know how painful it can be to feel so incredibly paralyzed that you simply cannot do what you need to do. I lost not one, but two businesses because of my procrastination. I have been exactly where you are, and I have overcome it.
As I started reaching out to others to help them overcome chronic procrastination, I realized that almost every chronic procrastinator suffers because of this “laziness” myth.
The problem, of course, is that if you’re convinced that you are the problem, then you cannot solve the problem.
The good news is that you are not the problem. You have a problem with procrastination, but you are not personally the problem. You are just fine, and you can overcome this challenge. You don’t even have to believe what I’m saying right now, but it is true.
And here’s why.
You have done things in your life, like finish school, get a job, make a living, maintain your home well enough that you can live in it, feed and clothe yourself and maintain your personal hygiene, maintain your car if you have one, take care of your children or pets.
The problem is not that you don’t do anything. If that were true, you would have been hospitalized by now. You do things. But right now, and maybe for quite some time, you have not been doing some things (even many things) that you need to do. You haven’t been doing them even though you know there are serious consequences for not doing them. That’s the real problem.
And that’s a problem you can overcome.
I think it’s great, extremely exciting, that laziness is not the problem. Because “laziness” is a nebulous concept that you just can’t really do anything about. How do you “stop being lazy?” You can’t, because it’s impossible to define, isolate and conquer.
But procrastination is a very specific, very easily identifiable problem, and you can face it head-on and deal with it. Because it’s not about you, it’s about a mental block, a habit that has gotten into your head and started controlling your life. You are not the problem; procrastination is the problem, and you can tackle it and overcome it.
You’re not lazy. That is not the problem. You may well have a chronic procrastination problem. You may not be getting everything done, or even close to everything, but that’s not because you’re lazy or bad. It’s because you have a problem with procrastination. And yes, you will have to take some actions to overcome that problem, but I’ve found that one of the first and most important steps is getting over this idea that you are lazy and that you are somehow the problem.
Because you’re not. And not only are you not the problem, you’re actually the solution. And that is the really exciting part. Because once you grasp that concept and put it to work, watch out.
Angie Dixon is the author of the Procrastinate Later Program, the real person’s guide to overcoming procrastination and becoming more effective. Get a free 7-part quick-start course by email and get immediate relief from your procrastination at http://www.helpforprocrastination.net.