May Do-Over: Procrastination Is a Barrier and Lack of Self-Control

It’s really humbling to look back over decades of my life (yes, DECADES – I’m 56!) and see how often procrastination has unfortunately been a constant companion. I am more determined than ever, now, to review and “do over” my series I began last August AND complete it this time! So for today’s post, I’m reviewing my posts about how procrastination is a barrier and indicates a lack of self-control.

Procrastination tends to be the enemy of precision, of establishing a schedule with specific tasks at designated times and on set days–not “someday” or”whenever.”

These are areas I can identify as barriers and struggles in my own life:

Scheduling and meeting deadlines: Procrastination can be a barrier to getting things done on a timely basis.  If we keep the “I’ll get to it whenever” mentality, we typically end up being late or missing a deadline altogether. If we don’t write something down and schedule it in as soon as we know about it, we can likewise forget about something important until it’s too late to take care of it.

Better health:  Procrastination can be a barrier to better health. The longer we put off changing our lifestyles by eating better, exercising, and cutting out bad, unhealthy habits, the more chance there is that we will open the door to weight gain and health problems related to being overweight and not eating properly. The longer we put off making changes, the more weight we will gain; the longer it will take to lose the excess pounds, and the more strain we put on our bodies.

Better relationships:  Procrastination can be a barrier to better relationships. If we put off or neglect to address issues that exist in our relationships with others–spouses, significant others, children, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, colleagues–what may be a little thing that could be easily addressed at the time, can morph into a huge problem that threatens to damage or destroy the relationship.

More peace of mind:  Procrastination can be a barrier to gaining and maintaining peace of mind. For example, every time we put off doing something we know we should do, the more that task and its impending deadline torment us and cause anxiety, frustration, and even physical illness.

On the subject of procrastination indicating a lack of self-control, to paraphrase one of Joyce Meyer’s quotes, it takes self-control to DO as well as NOT to do something. It’s our choice about whether or not to acknowledge and confront those areas of our lives where we lack in self-control.

In other words, we can choose to exercise self-control to prevent and overcome procrastination…or not!

I offer examples of my own areas of weakness in order to help anyone reading or interested in following this series. I’ve realized I *MUST* confront these areas of my life if I’m ever going to have complete victory.

These are areas I can admit, to my shame, that represent struggles with self-control related to procrastination, such as:

  • Not managing my time well and missing deadlines or not getting enough sleep because I’ve left too much to do in too little time.
  • Over-committing to do something, or getting wrapped up in big plans or projects, without completely thinking through the process and demands.
  • Intending to eat better, but not always planning ahead soon enough and settling for something less nutritious–or skipping a meal completely.
  • Intending to do a full workout, but lingering too long reading or socializing on Facebook, which cuts into that time and I end up doing an abbreviated workout, or none at all.

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”
~William James


So what about you, if you dare to share? Do you agree that procrastination is a barrier? In what ways do you identify procrastination as a barrier in your life? What areas of life tend to trip up your ability to exercise self-control to either do the right thing or not do the wrong thing?

16 thoughts on “May Do-Over: Procrastination Is a Barrier and Lack of Self-Control”
  1. Absolutely following you on parts 2-4…I can meet my deadlines when given solid ones…everything else is up for grabs. When I get ‘in the weeds’ then everything else takes a back burner…food, health, eating, family, and sanity. Great reminder and looking forward to the rest of the series coming from a fellow procrastinator.

  2. Fantastic post! I thought I would share some things I’ve learned about procrastination. Studies show that regardless of self-control, external pressures are usually required to maintain sensible schedules. I.e. as well-meaning as our scheduling may be, it’s not usually effective unless someone else is cracking the whip! You have to be very strong-willed to impose your own schedules.

    As someone with ADD, I have a hard time with procrastination because I’m so willing to switch between tasks. One person called ADD “like living in a soft rain of post-it notes,” which stuck with me because it’s so incredibly accurate.

    Today, most psychologists are approaching procrastination less through time management and more through emotional regulation. It’s believed that most people procrastinate not because they can’t manage time effectively but because they are (on some level) willfully avoiding the situation for emotional reasons. Learning about this was an awakening to me because I would often draw out complex schedules and then fail to meet them. No matter how carefully I scheduled, I never seemed to be able to meet deadlines. When I recognized it was my emotions that were off-kilter, not my scheduling, it really helped!

    1. I am with you, too, Jenna! I’ve got ADHD. Post it notes are my best friends (besides my husband, of course.) Even when I’m not procrastinating, there is so much thinking, or so many racing thoughts going through my head all the time, I might as well be putting things off. No matter how I slice it, the never ending mental chatter sometimes prevents me from doing things. I wind up spending much more time than I probably should, doing work related things, and that leaves me far less time for doing things for myself – especially when I realize how important those things are for sanity.

      Karen, fantastic post! You’re inspiring me in so many ways!

  3. […] My own personal “Blogathon” is on for the last two days of May – yes, I can! I can and will finish this series on Preventing Procrastination, Prizing Prioritizing, and Pursuing Purpose – especially this third and final segment on pursuing purpose. Thanks so much to all who have followed along, read, and commented… and if you’re just stopping in for the first time, you can catch the very first post in the series here: May Do-Over: Procrastination is a Barrier. […]

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