I have been meaning to write this section for some time, but I have been putting it off.  Just kidding.  But there are many who procrastinate so often that they face much of life with anticipated regret, and it is not a laughing matter.

Procrastination is simply delaying, postponing, or putting off action.  It is a habit, and in those who struggle with it, procrastination is a very real problem, impacting regularly and negatively their lives.  For the purpose of this book, I placed this topic under Performance since it definitely affects job performance and under Sales because the adverse impact of procrastination can be measured in dollars and cents for salespersons.  However, procrastination can negatively impact far more than earning capacity, and these comments about how hypnotherapy can successfully help the procrastinator apply well beyond the business world.

Procrastination can lead to missed opportunities.  It can create long hours at work, late work hours, and disruptions in time with friends and family.  Work that does get done is frequently of lesser quality because it is rushed, which ultimately results in lower-paying jobs, or in some cases, dismissal from a job.  Around the house, relationships can suffer as spouses, children, and other family face repeated disappointment.  People will learn not to trust a procrastinator, and eventually people will simply avoid one altogether.  All of life can begin to crash in on procrastinators, as they are overwhelmed with incomplete projects, jobs, and obligations.  Dreams die, and ambition turns to stress. Stress leads to a panoply of mental anguish and physical dysfunction.

The causes for procrastination are varied, and a client will need to explore these with the hypnotherapist.  Ultimately, it probably finds its origin within man’s natural aversion to work, but most of us overcome this innate inclination to avoid work as the drive to survive and thrive wins out.  Many people actually enjoy work. In my case, I cannot imagine not working at something. Retirement is something of a foreign concept to me, as I always have this “I am just getting started” feeling.  However, for many people, there is enough frustration with daily work that they battle regularly against their inclination to put off.  For some, in their Middle Minds, there was either a failure to create enough positive work habits, or a development of mental obstructions in dealing with tasks, promptly, effectively, and efficiently.  Procrastinators often lack confidence and have a tendency to overanalyze tasks, as well. In the earliest phase of hypnotherapy, the therapist and the client together will explore the particular circumstances of the client’s issues.  As with all cases of hypnotherapy, this discovery process is not a long, drawn-out process that takes weeks and weeks.  Usually, a therapist can determine primary causes immediately, enough so that he can construct a plan with enough flexibility to be modified seamlessly during sessions.

Although each plan for success in overcoming procrastination will be customized for the client, common elements to each therapy session exist to help re-write the script of habits in the Middle Mind. Overcoming procrastination requires the formation of new, instinctive, and automatic responses when the client faces new tasks.  A client will experience greater positives as she begins to see tasks as opportunities rather than burdens.  She will take events that previously triggered habits of procrastination, and she will turn them into automatic triggers to implement new, more productive approaches to those events.

Sessions for procrastination will create an approach that develops a confident and relaxed response to new opportunities that were once seen as unbearable burdens.  Relaxation is a precursor to so much that occurs during hypnotherapy.  It is essential to the use of hypnosis, but it is also a continuing by-product of the hypnotherapy process.  Those of us who experienced hypnotherapy for a particular need are continuously aware of how much more relaxed we are when we face all the events and challenges that life brings.  Part of the relaxation is certainly a result of a growing self-confidence that results from hypnotherapy.  Hypnotherapy, in practically all successful forms, is a very positive and encouraging process.

A successful plan for defeating procrastination is implemented in the hypnosis portion of the session.  [Click here to see the mechanics of hypnosis.]  The hypnosis will typically take ten to fifteen minutes, a relaxing time during which the client is fully aware of all that is going on.  The goal of hypnosis is to give the client’s Middle Mind the raw material (in words) that it needs, in the proper form, to allow it to do its own programming.  As we have emphasized throughout this text, the individual’s own Middle Mind is the real hero of hypnotherapy success.

When she returns to the real world, the client will have an approach in hand that she can apply to concrete situations.  These real world interactions will become the basis for reflections and revision of the approach as she defeats her procrastination habits.  Remember, the goal of hypnotherapy is not to simply fix the problem; it is to make sure that the fix is permanent.  The first step in ending procrastination begins now.  Don’t delay.  Act!