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Is Procrastination a coping mechanism? | Podcast

Updated: Jul 21

Hey, you! 😊

I have a schedule when it comes to preparing my weekly podcast episodes. I say weekly very loosely because ideally it should be, but let's be honest it hasn't been. Tsk tsk.

First thing is to find a topic, gather my thoughts and ideas, and then put them down in words in a blog post. Then I record the podcast based on the post. Edit. And upload. Unfortunately, the first step has been proven to be the most challenging.

Finding a topic.

It's crazy because when I start thinking about what I want to talk about, I have dozens of ideas that come to mind. But when I sit down to gather my thoughts, it just doesn't sound as nice as it initially did in my head. Then I lose interest and proceed to move on to something else.

A few weeks ago, I read this article in The New York Times (click here) talking about procrastination and how it is a coping mechanism. This was my first time reading about procrastination being described that way and something in me suddenly clicked. So I asked people online whether they agreed or not. Some did, others not. That was kinda expected I guess.

In the article, it said that "procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond."

A professor of psychology highlighted that "Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.”

This made all sense to me. I love the podcast and I'm super organised about it - every single task is written down on my daily to-do list which is spread on a week, so as the professor said it is definitely not a time management problem.

What is it then? So I thought of the topics I want to talk about - growing up in a biracial household, growing up in the Philippines, being an only child, going through my mom's long cancer journey, losing my mom at a young age, meeting the love of my life at a young age, my miracle baby, being a young mother, moving across the world to provide a better future for my family, living in France .... I want to talk about my life and it's heavy stuff. But I want to talk about this and I want to share. One because deep down I know that it will do me good, and two maybe someone somewhere out there is going through the same thing and needs to hear that everything will be alright. Life is full of challenges, but there's essentially nothing that we can't go through. I survived whatever happened to me in the past and I'm pretty sure there's more of that in the future.

Anyways ...

Going back to procrastination. There's a certain misconception about it. One avoids doing things to avoid feeling bad, only to feel worst for not doing it. Or knowing that there will be potential consequences for avoiding it. In my case, it is how I feel - a mixture of shame and guilt. What's worst is that those tasks are still there, waiting to be completed. You're essentially just buying time to avoid the inevitable while feeling like crap about it.

So I've decided to deal with it. First, with the podcast because that's my current procrastination issue. There are no promises because I would hate to break them and I wouldn't want to put that kind of pressure on me.

According to this Forbes article (click here), there are several steps to do, the next time procrastination hits and I've decided to try it.

First is to acknowledge why. That one is easy. Frankly speaking, I am a scaredy cat. A big part of me is afraid to talk about the past, even if it has molded me into the strong person that I am now. This is in a way my Pandora's box. As much as I want to share and maybe touch you with my wisdom, I am afraid of what emotions this might unearth for me.

Second is to forgive myself for procrastinating. This one is a little tricky, but I am quite a compassionate person to others so why shouldn't I be to myself. If I can't put out a weekly podcast episode, that's okay. Take it one step at a time just always moving towards the task.

I'm happy to report that I am done with this post in other words this week's podcast episode. I'll be recording and editing it this afternoon (yesterday as I'm posting this today) so it can go online tomorrow (today) as scheduled.

As you can see, I've completed the three tasks. But careful, as a Sagittarian who loves new challenges, this could be a short-term thing. Let's see how it goes on the long run.

So what do you think? Is procrastination a coping mechanism or just purely being lazy or disorganized?

xoxo Elodie

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