Procrastination Payoffs

by Daryl Daughtry, Publisher

– Listen to the Article Here

What are procrastination payoffs? They are the payoffs you think you receive by putting things off for yet another day or when you eventually get around to it. These payoffs become the justification for your procrastination.

You may be familiar with the concept that everything you do has a payoff or a reward of some kind, and procrastination is no different! Though it may not seem likely that such a negative habit could have a rewarding payoff, when you start exploring the possibilities you realize that you are indeed gaining something by putting things off.

So, let’s take a look at some common payoffs of procrastination and consider whether or not they might apply to your life:

Procrastination Payoff 1 – Keeping you firmly planted in your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things can be scary! A procrastination payoff provides the illusion of comfort and safety, so you don’t have to face frightening or uncertain situations that you may not feel ready to handle.

Unfortunately, a life without risk is also a life without rewards. Procrastination may help you avoid feeling scared and challenged, but you’ll also end up feeling powerless and stuck.

Procrastination Payoff 2 – Avoiding conflict and confrontation. You may procrastinate as a way to avoid standing up for yourself or making difficult decisions that would improve your quality of life. This can include things like asking for something you want, telling someone how you feel, or even avoiding social situations altogether.

While it may seem safer to avoid situations you’re not sure how to handle, doing so keeps you feeling isolated and scared. You’ll not only avoid the “bad stuff” like conflict and confrontation; you’ll also deny yourself the more positive benefits that come from interacting meaningfully with others!

Procrastination Payoff 3 – Providing a handy excuse for not being more successful. The more you procrastinate, the messier your life is going to seem, which creates a convenient excuse for not achieving more. You can point to your financial problems, your relationship dysfunctions and your mountains of stress and affirm that it’s because of those things that you haven’t reached your goals yet.

Under the surface of these excuses, it’s more likely that you feel intimidated by the thought of success so you’ll avoid creating it in your life – even if it’s something you think you want badly!

Once you understand your procrastination payoff, you can learn to gradually shift your focus to the better payoffs you’ll enjoy by overcoming your procrastination. You may need to face a few fears and build enough courage to step out of your comfort zone, but once you do, you quickly realize that those old procrastination payoffs weren’t payoffs at all – they were just shackles holding you back.

I would like to share a funny story about the opposite of procrastination, which is being highly motivated…

One evening a few years ago, my wife and I were enjoying a nice meal with friends at a local Mexican eatery. The couple we were dining with were close friends and we had even vacationed with them before. During dinner, I just blurted out that it would be awesome to be at the beach right now to really enjoy the wonderful weather we were having.

Everyone’s face immediately lit up like the 4th of July. It was obvious that like-minded thoughts were racing through our heads. And on a side note, my wife and I just happened to own a condo at the beach that was just sitting there waiting to be enjoyed.

So, I piped up again and pointed out that nothing was really stopping us from getting up from that table, going home to pack our bags, and arriving at the beach condo by bedtime that night after only a short 2 ½ hour drive. Well, that resulted in the four broadest grins you have ever seen in your life. It also resulted in four not-so-young people scrambling to their feet and eventually rolling down the highway towards the coast in world-record time.

So, what’s my point? The point is that people don’t put off what they really want to do, even if it’s unplanned and requires a great amount of effort. In fact, our journey to the beach that evening didn’t involve weighing the pros and the cons of such a spontaneous idea. It didn’t involve any complaining about the amount of effort and speed it would require. It didn’t even involve giving much thought to much of anything as we four passionately wanted to go to the beach for a few days. Our reward was worth the effort!

The next time you experience procrastination in your life, try your best to reframe the experience by giving yourself a positive payoff or reward. It doesn’t even have to be related. For example, you could treat yourself to a movie or something you enjoy when you turn in that report you’ve been putting off. You get the idea.

Replace the dread of doing something you don’t want to do with the anticipation of receiving some type of treat. You may not jump on it as fast as my beach trip, but I’ll bet your anti-procrastination payoff will motivate you.