The Source of Procrastination and Celebrating Your Wins

Photo by Pawel Kadysz at

Over on io9 there was an article today about The Secret to Overcoming Procrastination. I’m actually in a season where procrastination isn’t blocking my path like it has at times in the past, but this was still a pretty interesting read. They quote psychotherapist and author Jude Bijou:

“The best thing to do when we’re procrastinating is to identify whether it’s sadness, anger, or fear that’s really in our way,” Bijou says. “And then, to move that energy out. Have a little bit of a cry, or stomp around — deal with the emotional energy, and then you’ll be able to think more clearly, and break the task down into little, doable pieces. Recalibrate your thinking. Instead of going, ‘Oh, I can’t do this, it’s too much!’, try, ‘I’ll take one thing at a time,’ almost like a mantra that gets your mind going in the right direction so you’re not sabotaging yourself. Figure out what the task is, and make a list of all of the simple tasks that make up the big, overwhelming task. Then start with just one.”

I know I just quoted a whole paragraph, but there’s actually a lot more in the article. What really stuck out to me is tracing the root of procrastination to sadness, anger, or fear. A few months ago someone told me that boredom is actually rooted in fear and anxiety as well, and this really makes a lot of sense to me.

I’m really at a pivot point in my life, and I count it as a real luxury that I can identify it as such. Often you can only see these pivot points in retrospect, but this one has a huge bat-signal spotlight aimed right at it. Whenever I get locked up and can’t move forward, it’s usually because I’m so focused on this next stage being life-defining.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the way I’ve moved forward is realizing that pretty much every stage is life-defining in one way or another. Yes, this is a total shake-up of my routines and career and direction in life, but the decision to get out of bed in the morning can be just as life-defining if I let it. This season gets the spotlight, but I have to remember when I’m settled in a place that is my place that it’s just as important to break through procrastination and clean the bathroom as it is to send out resumes.

One of those seems bigger, for sure. Probably because it is, I’m not 100% convinced that every situation carries the same weight. But what I am convinced of is that no matter how small, steps forward are always great, are always triumphs over sadness, anger, or fear, and should always be celebrated. Now, as I write it’s late in the evening, so I’m going to go floss and brush my teeth and celebrate by slipping in my nice warm bed. As accomplishments and celebrations go, I’ll take it.