Here's your detailed report.

Your Main Procrastination Type is Planning

What is it?

If you tend to procrastinate by planning, that means you’re always in search of the ideal plan -- the perfect plan that will lead you to success. Procrastination by planning is very similar to procrastination by Busywork. As Eric Ravenscraft wrote in LifeHacker:
“Procrastinating feels lazy… Planning, brainstorming, and discussing feels productive because you’re talking about doing stuff. If you don’t move to action, though, there’s no difference between the two.”
The important difference to note here is that planning is talking about doing stuff and taking action is actually doing stuff. If we never move on from the planning phase, we haven't actually started working on our goals.

Why does it happen?

“For some people, planning can be a way to organize what might feel chaotic, but it can creep into avoidance,” says Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Dr. Jacqueline Baulch.

The reason we plan, or over-plan, is because we fear uncertainty. “Uncertainty is nebulous and planning is the opposite… But putting something as unwieldy as our future into a few Post-it notes doesn’t really change the uncertainty itself,” says Baulch.

Planning can also be a symptom of perfectionism. It is much easier to plan than to move through the messy middle. We tend to get stuck in creating a plan rather than take action because we feel 'if only I had the perfect plan, I would make little or no mistakes, minimize my chances of experiencing failure, and reach my goal effortlessly.' As Dr. Baulch explains it: “Often we only want to get started if we are certain it will be polished, perfect, or successful.”

What does it feel like?

Just like busywork, planning can feel gratifying because it gives us the illusion that we're working on our big project or goal. Planning can feel like work. It can feel like we're actually accomplishing something but if you take a closer look at what's really happening, you would realize that we're actually doing is stalling the work that needs to get done and not taking action on our big goals.

This is not to say that we shouldn't plan. Planning is an important step in working on any goal or project. The problem comes in when we forget that planning is simply Step 1 of the process. If we never move past the planning phase, we never move past step 1 to achieving our goal.

As far as Step 1's go, planning is great but it is not how things are accomplished. At some point, the amount of time being spent on planning is the amount of time that we could have been spending on our project and knocking out steps 2, 3, 4, etc.

People think that if they could only come up with the perfect plan, they would have the perfect outcome. It is our need for certainty (and fear of uncertainty) that drives over-planning to a degree. It is important to realize and accept that, in life, there are no guarantees. There is no certainty.

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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