Are You Procrastinating Or Avoiding?

We’re all guilty of procrastination to one degree or another. Most of us won’t admit we’re procrastinating, though. When we’re putting off action, we tell ourselves it’s because we just don’t have time, we require a few more resources, or the go-to excuse, we’re too busy.  

Funny thing is, it’s usually bigger stuff — things that really do need handled — that we put off.  The roof, our relationships, or a big work project, for example. Rather than tackling those biggies, we focus our energy on the minor “to do” list.  

I’m as guilty as anyone. Not so much on the roof or relationship front, but certainly in my work. I know I should address a major project, but instead I focus on crossing off a dozen smaller items. I say I’ll get to the big project tomorrow. At which time, I put another dozen projects in front of the biggie that looms.  

If you’re doing this, you can break the habit. I did, although it’s a daily challenge! 

First off, understand the difference between procrastinate and avoid.  

Procrastinate: “to defer action, to delay.”  

Avoid: “to keep away from” or “to prevent from happening.”  

So there you sit, realizing full well your roof needs fixed, a relationship needs mending (or ended!) or a work project is languishing. Yet you busy yourself with side work. You’re not lazy, you’re just a procrastinator, right? WRONG! You’re an avoider.  

A procrastinator delays action. But after a few days, weeks or months pass, can we really pretend we’re delaying? No! We’re avoiding, thereby preventing it from happening completely. 

How To Stop Avoiding While Passing It Off As Procrastinating 

Deliver a dose of Brutal Truth: Your roof, relationships, and work issues won’t fix themselves.  You can tell yourself you lack the proper resources to tend to those items. Or, you can be honest with yourself, admit things are a mess, and take action.  

It’s About Time: Every Avoider masking as Procrastinator tells him or herself they just don’t have time. They’re lying. You spend your money and time on what matters to you. You have time. 

Focus On Outcomes: If you fix the roof, your house won’t fall down, and it’ll be worth more money.  Nurturing your positive relationships - be they business or personal - pays huge dividends.  Likewise, severing toxic relationships is cleansing….you’ll sleep better at night.  

Isn’t that worth addressing versus avoiding? Then there are work projects you’re avoiding.  Remember what I always say, “Completed gets you paid!” 

We all avoid that which overwhelms us or makes us uncomfortable. When you find yourself doing this, ask: are you procrastinating, or avoiding? If you’re avoiding, you’re preventing something from happening. 

Damian Mason is a self made businessman, farm owner, speaker, podcaster, and consultant. His new book Do Business Better is available now. Find him at 

Angie Carel