What you’re going to learn:
- The 4 different causes of procrastination
- How to identify your own personal procrastination personality
“Seize the future by seizing the present. Start procrastinating tomorrow.” – Zig Ziglar
“Nothing beats the timely pursuit of one’s intentions. It is the measure of success in life.” – Clarry Lay
“When we procrastinate, it interferes with our happiness and drains us of our energy.” – Kevin Kruse
Hello, everybody. I am glad you made the time to join me. You didn’t find the time, you didn’t have the time. You made the time to join me. I’m Kevin Kruse and as you know I interviewed Mark Cuban and other billionaires, over a dozen Olympic athletes, and hundreds of successful entrepreneurs to uncover the real secrets to time management, which I’m sharing with you. Last week I explained why millionaires don’t use to-do lists, and today we’re talking about the four different causes of procrastination, and you’ll discover your own procrastination personality. First, I want to send you a quick start action plan that includes the one page planning tool that millionaires use to schedule their day. All you need to do is text the word “Achieve” to 44-222, or just point your browser over to the website productivity-podcast.com.
Procrastination. Even the great struggle with it. Let’s review some wise words. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and bestselling success, self-development author of all time, he said, “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” Zig Ziglar once said, “Seize the future by seizing the present. Start procrastinating tomorrow.” That’s funny. Of course let’s not forget my annoying cat Oscar, who says all the time to me, “Stop goofing off and come feed me now.” It doesn’t matter if he just ate. He says that to me all the time. Back on a serious note, professor Clarry Lay at York University, he specializes in the study of procrastination and he believes, he says, “Nothing beats the timely pursuit of one’s intentions. It is the measure of success in life.”
He believes the timely pursuit of one’s intentions is the most important indicator of success. He says it’s more important than general performance, prestige, a bigger predictor than your grades in school. All of those things are secondary to one’s commitment to prompt action. Know what you want to do and take prompt action on it. Everyone procrastinates at some point. They say 20% of us are chronic procrastinators. We procrastinate so often that it’s having a negative impact on our happiness and on our lives. It is an important thing because it’s certainly, procrastination, puts off achievement of our big dreams, our big, hairy, audacious goals. Procrastination is the enemy of that novel you want to write or that marathon you want to run or the career change or the job change that you want.
We so often procrastinate health related things. Going to the gym or eating a healthier diet. If we can overcome procrastination on our health behaviors, well then we are going to end up with more energy and productivity just from that one change. In year 2015 I did a original research study over 4000 working professionals, looking at procrastination and other productivity habits. People who rarely procrastinate report high levels of not just productivity, which we would assume, but also higher levels of happiness and energy. When we procrastinate, it interferes with our happiness and drains us of our energy. To beat it, let’s start by making sure we understand it. There’re four major reasons why we procrastinate.
The first reason is behavioral. This is the most common reason. The behavioral reason, it’s when we do something, or that we tend to pick something that’s more pleasurable or less painful to avoid doing the hard or the painful or the boring thing. The people who have this behavioral type of procrastination, they say they pursue their wants instead of their needs. You know, they chase what feels good instead of what is good for them. That’s the first type of procrastination. The second type, it’s a cognitive issue. It’s a cognitive challenge around time perceptions. Basically it’s saying we can’t estimate time very well if we’ve got this problem. A big school project that’s due at the end of the semester in two months, we don’t really understand what that means, and so as the days tick away, we don’t have this concept, this cognitive concept of how much time is left and how much time we need to spend to get that project done.
Now, the third type of procrastination is another cognitive defect. It’s called cognitive sensation seeking. It’s when we have a constant need for stimulus. That could be social media stimulus. “Oh, we just got to get on Snapchat and see what story got posted.” Or we’re always partying because of all the stimuli, whether it’s substances or socializing that happens there, or we’re constantly eating and stimulating ourselves through food and things that we drink. Basically it’s a cognitive defect where we just are constantly chasing the thing that feels good in the moment. The fourth and final type of procrastination, it’s a subconscious personality issue. We think deep down, subconsciously or unconsciously, that if we achieve certain things, if we do certain things, it might change the sense we have of our self.
It might change our self-identity or we think it might change the way other people treat us. We’re afraid to rock the boat around the people in our lives. “Maybe I’m going to write a book and my friend won’t like it.” “What if I get my MBA and get a big raise at work, and suddenly I’m making more money than my husband? Maybe he’s not going to like it. Maybe it’ll change the dynamic in our relationship.” It’s all these what ifs that might be holding us back. Those are the four reasons. One behavioral reason, two cognitive reasons, and one is a subconscious reason why we procrastinate. Procrastination has nothing to do with being lazy. It’s one of these four underlying reasons. Researchers, to make this more accessible, they’ve labeled them. They call them the four procrastination personalities.
That first one, the behavioral one, they call that the Postponer. About 60% of all procrastination is this form. We are the Postponer. We’re pursuing our wants instead of our needs. Again, that’s just a behavioral issue. The second type they call the Perfectionist. It’s the type of procrastination where you don’t want to start something because it’s never going to be good enough. Why start something if we’re never going to finish it? It’s a perfectionist type of behavior. Third, the Punisher. It’s where you’re the one that you’re punishing yourself with self-talk about how painful an item’s going to be. You want to have positive sensations and emotions all the time and you’re going to punish yourself by thinking about how negative it is going to be to do one of these items that you should do.
Finally, that subconscious need to make everybody happy, to not rock the boat or change our identity and place in a social structure, they call being the Politician. You want to please everybody. You don’t want to be disagreeable or challenging. What does this mean to you? How can you apply it? Basically, the first step to overcoming procrastination is to understand it and to identify what is it that you’re procrastinating on, and what type of procrastinator are you. Listen to yourself talk when you catch yourself procrastinating. If you’re a Postponer your self-talk is going to say, “Oh, that’s so boring. I don’t want to do that.” You sound like a little kid. “I don’t want to.” I got three kids so I hear that a lot. “Clean your room.” “I don’t want to.”
If your self-talk is that of the Perfectionist you’re going to say, “It’s not good enough” or, “I need to wait until everything’s all lined up, and I can do it right. I’m going to wait until I have more time.” You’re always waiting until that perfect moment. The self-talk of the Punisher is more like it’s hopeless. “Why should I even bother doing that? That’s going to be so painful. That’s not going to matter.” Then finally the Politician is self-talk about other people. “What if Joe doesn’t like it?” “What’s everybody going to think about me if I actually carry this through and do publish my novel or whatever it might be?” “What if people laugh at me when I tell them I’m going to run a marathon this year?” That’s the self-talk of a Politician.
Listen to or own chatter and try to figure out what type of procrastinator are you. What’s your procrastination personality? In the next episode, I am then going to share the nine step guaranteed cure for procrastination. Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Extreme Productivity Podcast. Remember, if you want to instantly download your quick start action plan, including the procrastination cure infographic ready to print and leave as a handy reference, just text the word, “Achieve” to 44-222 or visit extremeproductivity.com. By the way, did you know that president George W. Bush used to read 95 books a year while he was still in office, while he was the president? How did he find time to do that? And how can his secret help you to make it home in time for dinner? That’s what we’re talking about on our next episode. Until then remember, master your minutes to master your life.