How good are you at procrastinating?

Apparently, procrastination is not about laziness. And it’s not about time-management or self-control. 
Apparently, procrastination is simply a coping mechanism linked to our emotional state. Explains author Charlotte Lieberman: “People engage in [an] irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.” Interesting. I never thought about it like that. More on that in a moment. 
The literature maintains there are two types of procrastination – active and passive.
“Active procrastination is when people purposefully delay action because they work well under pressure,” says author Julie Marks. “Passive procrastination is the type most people think of, where individuals find themselves paralyzed by their inability to complete a task on time.”
The Oxford English Dictionary takes a neutral stance, defining it as “The action or habit of postponing or putting something off.” 
Merriam-Webster speaks more directly to our common understanding: “To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” 
Writing for Psychology Today, Susanna Newsonen cites its benefits: “Procrastination shines a light on what’s most important to you,” and it “makes you more creative, helps you to make better decisions, and leads to better apologies.” She adds, “If you’re an active procrastinator (like I am), embrace it. Embrace it so you can get more things done. Embrace it so you can start listening to what your intuition is trying to tell you. Embrace it so you can start doing the things that matter the most to you.”
Three strategies rise to the top – a word about each.  
Forgiving yourself
Author Amy Blaschka, in a piece for Forbes, talks about the link between procrastination and compassion. She notes that psychologists have found that “people prone to procrastination are, overall, less compassionate toward themselves.” Blaschka writes, “One of the most effective things that procrastinators can do is to forgive themselves for procrastinating. Researchers say employing self-compassion works because procrastination is linked to negative feelings. When you forgive yourself, you’ll reduce the guilt you feel about procrastinating, eliminating one of the primary triggers for procrastinating.”
Your mental state
Writer Cedric Chin maintains that “my ability to stop procrastinating is limited by my ability to recognize my mental state.” He adds, “Sensitivity to mental state is something I’m trying to improve.” 
Liberman adds, “Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks – boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.” 
Try bite-sized tasks 
One of my favorite examples is from a long-time friend who tried the “cut it in half” method.  His task: cleaning the house on a Saturday morning. 
His first thought, too daunting, so he cut it in half, “I’ll just do the upstairs.” 
Still, too much. Again, in half: “Just the two bedrooms.” 
Not quite there, “Just my bedroom.” 
OK, we’re now underway. The trick is to keep slicing until your brain says, “Ah, I can easily do that.”
Once in motion, of course, who knows what happens! 
The next time you sense that you’re procrastinating – and that moment will arrive soon enough – ask yourself three questions:
1. What’s my emotional state right now?  
2. Am I pausing or procrastinating? (active vs. passive); and 
3. If I decide to proceed, can I slice the tasks into smaller pieces?  
Above all, remember to be kind to yourself. That’s probably the most important thing you can do. 

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