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Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of an iT company. still running marathons though.

Is Procrastination Your Safe Net Against Goal Setting?

Sometimes, when I take a break from the world, I like to take a step back and observe the road so far. In a way, it’s an exceptionally fruitful experience – it indeed gives you a great perspective on your life and all the decisions you’ve made in the process. Inevitably, the topic of procrastination arises – after all, being present in your mindset has the power to navigate your life in unexpected directions.

Nowadays procrastination is definitely a hot topic – it’s no wonder since we’re all caught up in the whirlwind of constant proactivity with productivity being one of the top virtues. So once a person fails in the productivity department or seems they’re finding it hard to catch up, we begin to dwell upon whether procrastination might be an issue. 

To me, procrastination is simply a superficial outcome of a deeper meaning, oftentimes rooted in the way we feel or perceive the world around us. So it’s also a great idea to dig a little deeper the moment we feel our energy or motivation levels drop – essentially, sooner or later we’ll get to the bottom of things and successfully resolve whatever it is that keeps bugging us. 

There could be a plethora of reasons why procrastination occurs – of course, in today’s article we’ll tackle some of the most prominent ones, but I’d also like to address a topic that often seems to be lingering in the shadows. Among the multitude of reasons and states of the mind and body, what if procrastination is in fact your safety net? Is fear playing a big role in the process even though it’s so subtle we often tend to miss it altogether?

Stop Dreading Procrastination – View It as a Friend Instead

procrastination may be trying to tell you something

Nowadays we are all so consumed by the intent of being productive all the time that it’s only natural to view procrastination as the biggest enemy, threatening to weaken our determination and doom our goals altogether.

We live in a culture that praises constant work – be it in the office, on ourselves or on the next big project. If you think about it, taking a break is often frowned upon and I’m not referring to assigned tasks and delegated work only. As if we, as a product of the business culture we live in, have conditioned ourselves to think that resting equals failure. And that’s a huge, huge problem.

Having some time off, instead of being viewed as a wonderful opportunity to recharge our energy and nurture both our mind and body, often brings anxiety and this constant lingering feeling of missing out on big chances and simply wasting our time. What we often miss in the process, however, is the fact that success is not a product of never stopping for a second and taking a breath – it’s rather a wonderful outcome of finding the right balance and taking care of all aspects of our lives.

If we fail to grant ourselves some much-needed rest from time to time, we’ll give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on the road so far, take a deep breath and better determine our next steps out of a place of peace, comfort and a better understanding of the whole situation.

Slowing Down Can Actually Help You Escape from Burnout

But what could happen if we unconsciously (or deliberately, in some instances), deprive ourselves of a much-needed break? 

Well, eventually with time we can push ourselves to our limits and expose ourselves to experiencing burnout. Because sometimes we can interpret procrastination, or not feeling like continuing with the thing we’re occupying our minds with, as a sign we need a break.

Of course, there are a multitude of reasons why procrastination might be happening. Like I’ve said, I believe the key to resolving this is by digging deeper in an attempt to truly find out the initial cause of it all. Procrastination may simply be a sign that your motivation levels have dropped due to poor management, doing a job you are not particularly fond of, excessive workload piling up, bad work distribution, etc. There are virtually a plethora of possibilities but the important thing is this – you won’t be able to find a long-term solution if you don’t get to the bottom of things. If you overlook the very reason why procrastination occurs, you risk it coming back again and again until you resolve the issue.

Why Would Procrastination Come to Us as a Safety Net and What This Could Teach Us

I’m aware that this statement might appear a bit odd at the very moment you hear it but bear with me – let me try to explain an alternative explanation to the procrastination phenomenon.

We live in a world where we have constant access to everything – information, education, craftsmanship, you name it and you’ll probably find a handful quite easily. In addition to that, information nowadays is far more easily accessible than it used to be back in the day – today everyone can quickly choose to educate themselves on a plethora of knowledge and experiences.

As a matter of fact, many of us do just that – constantly improving and upgrading our knowledge or expertise in a particular field or a subject is a certain sign we’ve made it, at least at the scale of profound personal development and growth.

So What Can Go Wrong?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s absolutely outstanding when someone spends a great deal of their time and energy to educate themselves. But there’s a subtle warning sign – when we continuously read or learn about something, we have the tendency to trick our brain into thinking we’re actually going somewhere when, in reality, theory without practice is just mesmerizing education without real, palpable results in our day-to-day lives.

Let’s take care of our mental health for example – in this day and age, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t believe just how important it is to keep our psychological well-being in balance. So, overwhelmed with tasks, duties and never-ending responsibilities, we reach out and surround ourselves with books, podcasts and videos that explain in great length how crucial it is to nurture our mental well-being. What’s more, they offer a long list of practical solutions and know-how – essentially, actions that promise to work wonders and really help us get on the right track. But change requires, yes, actions. And sometimes taking a big step forward is nothing but frightening. 

When We Get Tangled Up in Our Minds, We May Forget About Taking Action

Fear of change, efforts, hard work and the ambiguity of the future may also be disguised as procrastination – and it’s tricky since our mind would most likely think we’re actually doing quite a lot once we begin diving into the sea of knowledge and new information out there.

But guess what – simply reading about achieving mental health balance won’t do the work as much as taking a walk, getting a day off work or trying meditation would. Simply reading about putting our ideas into practice and building the business endeavor of our dreams won’t turn us into successful entrepreneurs. Only actions would – of course when combined with much-needed know-how and education. But the latter is simply not sufficient.

The Solution

So the next time you feel stuck or experience procrastination, try to reflect and think whether you’re simply not postponing taking action in the desired direction. Yes, it’s scary, it’s frightening in fact – but fear has this tendency to keep us staying in one place, reliving all desired life scenarios in our head and our head only. Once you realize that maybe fear it’s what has been keeping you back all along, it’s when you gain back full control over your decision-making and planning for the future. And even though the road is a rather turbulent one, it always promises to get us to our final destination – it only takes courage and making the first leap. 


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