Here's your detailed report.

Your Main Procrastination Type is Busywork

What is it?

If you tend to engage in busywork then you most likely feel productive all the time but don’t get much done. Busywork is a form of procrastination that feels productive in the moment because, technically, the busy-worker is doing something but that something has little or no lasting impact in the grand scheme of things. Busywork gives the illusion of productivity and the excuse to tell ourselves "I'm busy right now and working hard."

It is the act of being busy while simultaneously procrastinating on your most important tasks. Even though the busy-worker might be working 8 to 10 hours a day and feel productive, no actual productive work, work that moves the busy-worker towards their big-pictures, is taking place.

Why does it happen?

People fall into the trap of busywork because it's difficult to detect when you are engaged in it. When you engage in normal procrastination, you realize that you're doing it. But when you fall into the trap of busywork, it's difficult to realize it because you're keeping yourself busy by working on a lot of different to-do's and things that "need to get done". 

What does it feel like?

When you're busy and getting a lot of tasks done, it feels very productive. You feel good about yourself. In fact, our brain rewards us for this kind of behaviour because dopamine (the pleasure hormone) is released in our brain when we're working on a lot of different tasks, thus further incentivizing us to continue working this way.

Even though we feel productive and good about all the low-impact tasks we're doing, the end result is that we're not working on our most important tasks that actually move the needle forward. That's why busywork is considered a trap and a form of procrastination.

One of the reasons behind this could be the belief that "hard work equals success". That is not necessarily true. Yes, hard work can be a component of success but only when the hard work being done is on the right tasks and activities. It doesn't matter how hard you work if you're working on the wrong things.

It is important to note the difference between being busy and being productive.
  • Being busy means you're spending a lot of time and effort on certain tasks. But those tasks could be irrelevant in the big picture of achieving your goals.
  • Being productive means you're working on tasks that move the needle forward and take you closer to your end goal.

Your Possible Root Cause is Overwhelm

What is it?

The most likely cause of your procrastination is that you are feeling overwhelmed. This happens when we know what our goals are but have no idea how to accomplish them. Our goals feel like big, tremendous tasks and we can't figure out what the next step should be. When that happens, we are constantly ruminating on our goals and we can't see how we'll ever accomplish them.

Why does it happen?

Knowing our goal but not knowing what the next step should be causes us to feel an overwhelming amount of negative emotions. We start dreading the task that is supposed to make us feel good and excited.

When faced with these negative emotions, we understandably seek out short-term mood repair strategies rather than focus on long-term goal achievement. One common, but self-defeating, way to deal with these emotions is to completely avoid the thing causing them in the first place — the task at hand.

This is when overwhelm turns into procrastination because it is obvious to us that our task is what's causing us to feel these negative emotions, so we subconsciously choose to avoid it.

What does it feel like?

The negative emotions experienced by overwhelm can be a mix of fear, frustration, anger, shame, guilt, or anxiety. We often feel dread towards our goals and main tasks.

The inability to make progress on these tasks may also stir up feelings of low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, and feeling like we're stuck and unable to make any progress or move forward.

It is true that these emotions and feelings are being caused by our task but it is important to realize that our task is stimulating our irrational beliefs. Irrational beliefs come as a cluster in our lives, snowball, and quickly build energy. This causes us to constantly think negative thoughts and perpetuate the suffering we feel inside.

We know deep down inside that if we were able to make progress on our goal or task, we would stop feeling this way. But the problem is that we have no idea how to move forward with the task.We end up getting stuck in an endless cycle of:
  • I want to do my task but I don't know what to do
  • I don't know what to do so I feel bad
  • I feel bad because I want to do my task...
  • ...and the cycle repeats

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