Why Buddhism Helps You Overcome Procrastination

(Photo above by Cottonbro / Pexels)

You wake up, heart racing, picturing the mountain of tasks to accomplish that day. How are you going to do it? Maybe you take a hot shower to calm down or drink some coffee to boost your energy.

But the daunting feeling won’t go away. That may not stop you from accomplishing everything, but there’s a way to do it where you can actually believe in yourself.

Procrastination is more than just how you manage time or labeling yourself as “lazy.” So, why is it that you put off certain things until the very last minute?

In The New York Times, writer Charlotte Lieberman clarifies:

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.

Supporting this assertion, she quotes Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University, in Ottawa, saying that “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.”

If procrastination is more about coping with my emotions, how can Buddhism help?

We all have negativity and self-doubt in our lives. Buddhism is all about how we deal with those feelings and overcome them. The essential teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha (or Siddhartha as he is sometimes known) is the Lotus Sutra, where he teaches that each person has the limitless ability to manifest compassion, confidence, wisdom and beyond.

How do we manifest this limitless life force? Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is how Buddhists actively practice believing in themselves again.

To believe in ourselves again, we need to change that inner voice that tells us we’re not good enough. The insecurities, anxiety, self-doubt and more are not personality traits that we’re trapped in.

To believe in ourselves again, we need to change that inner voice that tells us we’re not good enough.

This is where chanting comes in. It gives us the life force to win over our negativity so we can turn that the inner voice of anxiety or frustration into confidence and fulfillment. When we do this, we gain the courage to challenge the tasks we are afraid of, instead of procrastinating and putting them off.

Akiko shares how chanting helped her turn her anxiety into her strength. Want to read more on her story? Click here to be inspired.

You already have access to a simple tool to overcome procrastination. Here’s what you can keep in mind to help you along the way.

Daisaku Ikeda, peace activist and Buddhist philosopher, writes about how our lives are profound and precious. He explains:

Time equals life. It is a priceless treasure. Those who value time, value life. Those who value life are the ones who will create peace in the world.

It’s important to keep in mind that time is precious, and it equals our lives. This isn’t to give pressure but rather to have a sense of appreciation for our irreplaceable selves. We develop this life state when we make chanting a priority in the morning and connect with Buddhist encouragement to keep going.

If you’re struggling with procrastination right now and need some support to believe in yourself again, we can help. Feel free to email us and we would be happy to connect you with a local Buddhability community for support.

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