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How to Recognize and Challenge Your Procrastination Excuses


What Are Procrastination Excuses?


Procrastination excuses are like little tales we tell ourselves to justify putting things off. These tales often contain a grain of truth about the current situation, which convinces us that postponing a task is perfectly okay. These excuses can make us feel comfortable with our procrastination, leading us down the path of delay. Let's unravel some common excuses together!

Excuse

The Truth

Unhelpful Conclusion

I am really tired

I do feel tired

I should do it later when I'm rested

I will miss out on fun

There's fun now

I can wait for a time with less fun

I don't have all I need

I lack some things

I'll wait until I have everything

I have plenty of time

Time is available

I don't need to start now

I have other things to do

There are tasks

I'll start after finishing these other tasks

 

Challenging Unhelpful Conclusions


It's easy to believe that the perfect moment will arrive tomorrow for us to magically become productive. The truth is, waiting for an ideal set of conditions to come together is like waiting for a shooting star. Often, we'll be waiting forever. Instead, taking that first step, no matter how small, can spark the desire to complete the task. As we make progress, the pieces fall into place, and we find ourselves more capable than we thought.


Challenge those unhelpful conclusions by asking yourself a series of questions:

  • What reasons support postponing this task?

  • Why might starting now be a better option?

  • Is delaying truly better in the long run?

  • Can I take a small step right now, even if conditions aren't ideal?

  • Is later genuinely a more suitable time?

  • How might I feel if I make progress now? And if I don't?


The Power of Truth and Helpful Conclusions

Excuse

The Truth

Helpful Conclusion

​I am really tired

I do feel tired

I can still make a small start now

I will miss out on fun

There's fun now

If I make progress, I can reward myself

I don't have all I need

I lack some things

I can start on parts of the task

I have plenty of time

Time is available

Better to tackle it now than later

I have other things to do

There are tasks

These tasks can wait, this can't

Unlocking New Perspectives: Testing Your Beliefs


To truly challenge your beliefs, conduct an experiment. If you believe fatigue prevents progress, rate your tiredness (0-10), then dedicate a few minutes to the task. Afterward, re-evaluate your fatigue and what you accomplished. More often than not, you'll find that starting was the hardest part and that you gained momentum as you worked.

 

The Role of Psychotherapy in Conquering Procrastination


Psychotherapy is like having a guiding hand by your side. It's about engaging in meaningful conversations with a trained professional who understands the intricacies of human behaviour and can help us navigate the maze of our own minds. When it comes to procrastination, psychotherapy offers a toolkit of strategies that can transform the way we approach tasks and goals.


One of the key benefits of psychotherapy is its ability to uncover the hidden beliefs that fuel our procrastination habits. Those thoughts like "I can't start until I'm perfectly ready" or "I must do everything perfectly" are like weeds in the garden of productivity. A therapist can help us identify and challenge these beliefs, replacing them with more realistic and constructive ways of thinking.


Psychotherapy equips us with a toolbox of effective strategies to combat procrastination head-on. Through therapy, we can learn techniques to manage the discomfort and negative emotions that often lead us to avoid tasks. These strategies can be our secret weapons in staying focused and staying on track, even when the temptation to procrastinate is strong.


Breaking Free from the Cycle: Psychotherapy as a Catalyst for Change


Remember the cycle of temporary relief followed by negative consequences? Psychotherapy empowers us to break this cycle. Therapists can help us maintain focus on our long-term goals, even when procrastination beckons. With their guidance, we learn to value our achievements and progress more than the fleeting comfort of delay.


From Criticism to Encouragement


Lastly, let's remember that self-criticism won't get us far. Transform your self-talk into a supportive, motivating force. Speak to yourself as you would to a friend – with kindness and encouragement. When we lift ourselves up, we find it easier to tackle procrastination and rise above it.


As the school season beckons, let's acknowledge the challenges we face. The power to overcome procrastination and its excuses lies within us. Armed with knowledge, the ability to challenge unhelpful beliefs, and the encouragement to break the cycle, we can enter this new chapter with confidence and determination.


References:

 

About The Author

Natasha Filntissis is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Western University. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, & believes in the importance of taking care of one's physical and mental well-being. In addition to her academics, Natasha was also a former semi-professional soccer player. Her favourite self-care activities include journaling, practicing yoga, and working out. Currently, she is working with children with Autism in 1:1 and group settings. Natasha intends to pursue a Masters degree, & her ultimate goal is to inspire and educate others about the value of mental health and self-care to lead a fulfilling life.

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