The Need to Rest vs. Procrastination

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson on Unsplash


For quite a while now, I’ve had plenty going on. I’ve been working full-time for the past year while finishing up my life coaching certification, growing and marketing my life coaching business, coaching clients, taking on more leadership responsibilities at my full-time job, and working to maintain my health, fitness, and personal life.

Juggling it all has been an adventure. And I’ve found that there have been many times where I’ve wondered if that desire to sit on the couch for an extended amount of time and veg out, or listen to one personal development podcast after another is a sign that I need a break from producing my own work, or if it’s a sign of that old foe, procrastination.

Since it’s something that intrigued me, I thought I’d put my experience to the test, see what was really going on in those moments, and see if I could identify the difference between those times when I needed to rest vs. those times when I was simply procrastinating.

Below are five signs that indicate rest might be a good idea, and five signs that procrastination has arrived.

5 Signs That Say, “Rest!”

  1. Your brain feels like it’s in a fog, and you can hardly put a sentence, or stream of thought, together.

  2. Your eyes can no longer focus on the screen or paper without you having blurred vision, or your eyes wanting to close completely. Maybe your eyes are even burning.

  3. Your body is feeling a little heavy and is craving big, deep breaths, and even more hydration.

  4. You can’t shake the tension or headachy feeling in your head.

  5. Your body might be feeling stiff, and your energy stagnant.

5 Signs That Say, “You’re Procrastinating!”

  1. You’re decisions are accompanied by heavy doses of negotiating your way out of this or that. Examples: Instead of working out today, you negotiate that you’ll just eat really healthy and double up on your workout tomorrow. Or, maybe instead of getting a jump on work for the next day and checking that one item off your list now, you negotiate that you’ll just get into the office an hour earlier.

  2. You’ve set the intention to sit down and focus on one task, then find yourself jumping back and forth to other tasks; such as, checking your social media accounts, checking your phone or emails, starting laundry, or checking the pantry for a snack...again.

  3. You feel anxious or uncomfortable about the task in front of you. It feels like a cage of resistance is all around you.

  4. You convince yourself that another task needs to get done first, when it’s actually not a high priority. Example: You set the intention to get a blog post written, then immediately decide that peeling and cutting up five sweet potatoes to prep for roasting absolutely must get done first.

  5. You find yourself thinking too much about the task in front of you vs. diving into the doing to get it done.

Resting and self-care are huge topics these days. And they’re important. Burnout gets us nowhere fast, and can kill our productivity and results in the long run. The flip side can be just as detrimental. When we procrastinate regularly, we also experience a lack of productivity, and we don’t realize the results we want and deserve because we’re constantly putting off the tasks and steps needed to realize them.

If you struggle with identifying your need to rest vs. experiencing the desire to procrastinate, maybe start to pay closer attention to what’s going on in your mind and with your emotions when it comes time to focus in and do the work. The list above can be a good start.

Do you have any way that you identify your need to rest vs. your desire to procrastinate? What are ways you’ve overcome them? If you’d like to share, I’d love to know in the comments below.