4 reasons why procrastination is actually a good thing and how to move through it
One of the most beautiful and challenging things about being a creator is being in charge of your own schedule when it comes to putting out content and new courses. While your audience might be counting down the days until your next course launch, it’s might be causing you some stress. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of procrastination, especially the closer it is you get to the end result.
Maybe your procrastination shows up as cleaning your whole apartment during the time you had time blocked to work. Or it could be getting lost in a social media scroll. Either way, procrastination can be a frustrating and detrimental pattern to be stuck in. Read on to find out why this tendency popping up is actually a good thing, and what you can do to shift away from it.
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How procrastination can be a good thing
1. Noticing procrastination patterns is a sign of increased self-awareness
As humans, our brains run on patterns—both consciously and subconsciously. While many of these habits and tendencies can go unnoticed, tuning into your procrastination patterns is a sure sign of increased self-awareness. That is a marvelous thing because you can’t grow and improve an aspect of yourself that you’re not aware of.
The key here is not to get judgemental or critical of yourself. Instead, get curious about this pattern in a neutral way. You can bring even more ease by bringing a sense of love to yourself for being in this pattern. (Check out the next tip for more on why it’s beneficial for that to be the case.) Become very observant of this pattern from the perspective of collecting data. The more you know, the more information you have to work with when shifting away from it.
Pay attention to when this tendency is most likely to show up. Is it when you’re working on a certain project or during a specific time of day? Notice what it is that you tend to do as a form of procrastination. Is it when you’re bored snacking? Getting lost in your phone? Or doing other “productive” but unimportant tasks—like organizing your desktop or color coding your planner?
It’s also important to check in with how you feel after spending time procrastinating. And if there are any beliefs or mindsets you have that relate to it. “I work better under pressure” or “This course (or whatever project) probably won’t be that good anyway” are just going to feed the procrastination pattern. Take note of these elements and proceed to number two!
2. Procrastination is a sign that your brain is trying to keep you safe
In order to grasp the significance of this one, it’s important to understand that our brain’s primary function. Before higher-order thinking, working towards goals, creativity, and even developing your sense of identity, is safety. The number one job, and the element that the mind will prioritize over all else, is keeping you in a state of perceived safety. Even if from the outside looking in that might seem like self-sabotage in the form of procrastination.
While this can seem annoying, take a minute to give yourself gratitude for this. Your brain is doing exactly what it’s meant to. And that gets to be celebrated with some loving appreciation. Giving thanks for this doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. You’re simply acknowledging and accepting an advanced defense mechanism that your brain has learned to do. And that’s a powerful step on the journey to change.
You might be wondering what exactly your brain is keeping you safe from with procrastination. And the answer to this will vary from person to person. One reason why is to protect you from criticism or judgment. You can’t be criticized for something you haven’t shared with the world. The same goes for fear of failure. You’re guaranteed protection from failure if you don’t put your course out there in the first place.
Get curious and either journal or talk it through. Find out why you’re procrastinating and what it might be keeping you safe from. Then it will be time to put some tools into action. Mantras or EFT tapping when you notice procrastination creeping up can be really helpful. It can help your subconscious brain feel safe and melt away the mental resistance you have. Doing a short breathwork practice or confidence meditation can also help with this! Make a practice of tending to your emotional well-being instead of trying to just muscle your way out of procrastination and notice how much easier it becomes.
3. Procrastination is a sign that you’re on the brink of something big
Maybe you’re familiar with this sequence of events: You’re excited to launch a new course, and have no trouble planning out the details. You work diligently and excitedly on it, but the further along you get, the pace starts to slow. When you sit down to do the parts that feel really challenging, you find yourself wasting time instead of recording the video lectures. It either ends with you in a mad rush to finish everything, or pushing back your launch date.
This specific pattern of procrastination is a sign that you’re creating something that feels big. And likely has the ability to bring a lot of value to your students (and your bank account!) It seems like it would make no sense then that procrastination is popping up. But actually it tends to show up in relation to how significant of a project you’re working on (or at least how significant it feels.)
This has everything to do with a fear of success. Which is typically an unconscious fear that if we do succeed and grow, it will either be unsustainable or there will be uncomfortable changes in our lives, like close relationships shifting or your daily life changing. Ultimately, whether it’s a success or not, it’s still the unknown, and for many of us that can subconsciously feel like unsafe territory.
This is a phenomenon that author Gaye Hendricks coined “the upper limit problem.” Which is essentially reaching a certain level that feels unattainable but not too uncomfortable, and not being able to get past it. Overcoming this has a lot to do with monitoring these limiting beliefs, and working to rewire them. You remind your subconscious brain that it’s safe to expand, safe to go into the unknown of new heights, and safe to experience change. You even write these mantras down several times when feeling the resistance of procrastination popping up. Writing helps calm the nervous system and get the brain in a state where it’s open to new ideas.
4. Procrastination is an opportunity to get more in touch with your needs
Observing and asking yourself why procrastination is coming up is an ongoing process. Some days the answers might vary from others—this creates a powerful practice of tuning into your own needs.
The more you can recognize and meet your own needs, whether they’re physical, mental, or emotional, the more optimally you’ll be able to run and the better you’ll feel. When you notice procrastination arising, ask yourself what you need at that moment. This is crucial in order to decrease sluggishness and mental resistance.
Meeting your own needs can be something as simple as getting a cup of coffee, taking an outside break, or giving yourself a hug. It could also look like doing some EFT tapping to coach yourself through resistance or using some mirror affirmations to boost your self-confidence.
Using your procrastination for good
No matter how you navigate procrastination, keep in mind that it’s a sign of growth. And that within this pattern lies the opportunity for self-improvement on greater levels—and that is certainly a cause for celebration.