Procrastination gets a bad rap.
Sure, it has its faults, but when we take a closer look, it's not so black and white.
Here are four reasons why procrastination isn't always all bad.
1. Procrastinating one task can motivate us to complete another.
Perhaps you can relate to this experience: You have something you are avoiding. You will do anything to not do That Thing!
Yes...even things that you were previously procrastinating doing!
Example: You really need to clean out that garage. I mean, really.
You haven't even opened some of those boxes in ten years. Do you really need those mismatched dishes? Those strings of old broken Christmas lights? Five dozen issues of National Geographic for that collage you are sure you will start one day?
It feels like such a daunting project. You can't bring yourself to even begin. Then one day...
Check out this Bustle piece about common thoughts that can have a negative impact on your well being. It includes examples from therapists, including yours truly.
If you recognize any of these, or struggle with toxic thoughts that aren't on this list, you are not alone! We all think thoughts from time to time that can cause us harm.
The real danger is when these types of thoughts hang around a lot. When we think harmful thoughts constantly or frequently, they begin to affect how we see ourselves in a profound way.
The best first step is to bring awareness to them. Once we see them, they already have less power. When we don't notice them, we can't question whether they are true and we can't consider the impact that thinking them is having on our mental health.
But if we start to catch ourselves thinking these harmful thoughts, we can examine them. We can consider whether it's possible they aren't true.
Even really compelling thoughts start to fall apart when we take a closer look. Are there times when the thought isn't true?
Check out my post about kicking the habit of self-criticism for a more in depth look at how to deal with these harmful thoughts so that they don't run (or ruin) our lives.
In a previous post, I talked about how fear of others’ judgement can get in the way of enjoying the present moment.
That piece also touched on how judging others can be a protective strategy, an attempt to keep ourselves from looking at things that feel scary or shameful. Judgement can also be a way of trying to make ourselves less vulnerable so that, theoretically, we can't be let down or rejected.
When we judge others, we create a barrier which makes it difficult to experience the connection we so desperately crave.
Very often we turn that judgement around to ourselves.
At times, self-judgment can be another kind of protective strategy: if I criticize myself before others do, I can’t be hurt.*
*Note: This does not actually work.
fara tucker, lcsw
therapist and teacher in Portland, Oregon