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The Real Truth About Procrastination

The Truth About Procrastination by Amy Eliza Wong - Life Coach in the Sacramento, CA areaWhy do you fail to follow through?

It’s not because you’re lazy.


Truth is we’re a busy, preoccupied bunch. Overwhelmed, in fact. We live in a world where, not only do we value being scheduled every minute, we’re barraged with near constant distraction.

So… why don’t we do what we say we’re gonna do?

Because we’re tired! It’s such a cultural norm these days I don’t think we’re really aware of just how depleted we truly are.

And the research on behavioral change is clear – the more we are depleted, the harder it is to do anything.

I’m sharing this because I’m inviting you to give yourself a break. Know that your energy reserves are a very real, FINITE, thing and is most likely the reason you’re procrastinating.

Here’s what’s up…

At any point in time, you are playing one of two roles. You are either the “planner” or you are the “doer.”

The part of you that’s planning is not the part of you that’s doing. When you sit down to plan out your life, you’re typically not anticipating that you’re going to be angry, tired, depleted, or emotional when it comes time to DO.

It’s easy to make plans about life. It’s not always easy to execute. Why? Because it takes energy, focus, and effort. Stuff that’s probably already low in your tank. The “doer” has to do all the work and many times you just don’t have the actual energy to do the work.

So what happens when you become depleted? You switch from “doer” to “planner!” It’s easy for the doer to change roles and become the planner and let someone else do the work.

“You know, I said I was going to do this today, but boy, I’m pretty tired. And I’m looking at my calendar for tomorrow and it doesn’t look so bad, so I think I’ll just go ahead and do this tomorrow.”

Sound familiar?

You know what we call this – PROCRASTINATION. Now, if you’ve been following me for a while then you know what I really think of procrastination. But for the sake of this argument, I’m holding that the effect of chronic procrastination is essentially complete lack of follow through and the reason you don’t achieve what you intend. Which is why you’re probably reading this.

In reality, there lots of factors that prevent us from following through. But this is a big one. How does knowing about this particular phenomenon help?

When you understand the planner/doer switch, you’re empowered with awareness that

  1. prompts you to make more informed choices that actually serve you (like effective self-care).
  2. recognize and proactively utilize those times when you realize that you have bandwidth to play in, and honor the times you don’t.
  3. allows you to feel more compassion for yourself and your situation…
  4. …which in turn reduces stress, guilt, and any other negative emotion that does nothing but deplete you further.

Pretty powerful.

Procrastination is not only unproductive but it’s stressful and taxing on our psyches. So rather than choose to beat ourselves up because we’re pushing those items further down our to-do lists, we can realistically acknowledge that we don’t currently have the energy and creative capacity to deliver in the way we intend.

No big deal. Because we don’t stay depleted forever. Honor this knowledge and do something productive with it. If you’re really tired then take a nap. And do so with an agreement that when you wake up you’ll assess your ability and act if the capacity is there.

Now, failing to act when you know you’ve got the firepower is another topic altogether – one that will most likely be a future article. 😉

Until then, my friends, carry on or “self-care” on. You’ll be powerful either way.

Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.