What makes people procrastinate?
What makes us dig in and grind for hours (perhaps weeks or months), then veer off course the moment we gain some momentum?
What makes us dream about achieving goals, wanting what’s at the finish line and yet, frequently, falling off track and beginning something else?
It turns out procrastination is similar to a mixed martial arts fight. The moment you let your guard down it kicks you in the head, putting you in a daze and scrambling to get back on plan. Increase awareness, take heed, reassess specific tactics and you’ll be able to overcome procrastination.
Maybe my example sounds a little extreme. My point is, procrastination isn’t just an innocuous habit; it’s downright harmful to you and your business. And it’s a daily fight, beating down your success and knocking out big dreams. Let’s do something about it.
Make Things Fun & Purposeful
Remember when you graduated college and ideas of what you’ll do in the “real world” started swirling in your head? Remember how you couldn’t wait to start or join the company of your dreams and do work you loved? No matter how hard someone told you it would be, it didn’t matter…you were going to make it happen.
Although we’re all a bit more naïve when we’re young, this enthusiasm is exactly what we have to stir up inside. Choose a journey that lights a fire inside you. People whose path lacks passion leads to a commitment crossroads. Without an meaningful vision to excitedly pull us in the right direction, we find ourselves doing things we dislike, even hate. Procrastination is born.
Take a moment to consider each of your days…are you trail blazing or merely grazing through life?
Don’t Forget Physiology
Procrastination can strike just when you think you’re getting things in order. React the wrong way and procrastination grows. Our excitement falls, confidence flails and we’re more inclined to try and “feel good” now.
We then find ourselves scrolling through the endless inbox, grabbing a venti latte, or giving in to our impulses. We’ll choose anything that gives us instant gratification. As distractions, guilt, and fatigue increase, procrastination follows.
Taking care of yourself is the answer. Proper exercise, nutrition, and rest can be catalysts for excelling under time constraints. Nourish the body and brain effectively and you not only create a stress fighting machine, but you can better manage your emotions when the stakes are high. Prioritize your health to keep energy, resilience and stamina high.
Every time we give in to procrastination we create cognitive dissonance and lose a little of our dream. Our procrastination grows. Our guilt, our excuses grow and our reasons to believe wittle away.
How we cope with procrastination is different for each individual. Track your thoughts, reflect on your feelings and gain constant feedback from your behavior. This self-regulation can help.
Self-regulation begins by developing a high level of consciousness. We “watch” ourselves as much as we can to learn the problem, define a strategic solution and make a change. We would love to have the discipline to do this all by ourselves, but as a procrastinator, discipline isn’t our best suit.
Find a trusted mentor, coach or group of colleagues from which you can gain constant outside feedback. This type of insight and perspective can be invaluable for targeting keys to self-mastery.
Monitor “The Weather”
The perfect storm of procrastination will hit you when you’re innocently minding your own business. When unpleasant tasks, powerful impulse and waning self-discipline begin to intersect it can be a destructive weather front.
Life is filled with many storms. The most threatening ones come from our own self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. They can flatline energy, kill productivity and debilitate us emotionally. They’ll erode your success.
Find the unpleasant tasks, top distractions, impulsive behavior, mood killers and circumstances where self-discipline fails. Monitor these, take appropriate actions and you’ll be delighted by the opportunities that arise when the winds change in your life.
Knocking out procrastination isn’t easy, but you can’t do it without practice. Focus, energy, commitment, persistence and just good ole faith are great tools to help; all of which must be developed and honed in order to overcome old habits.
Every skill you study will show in continuous improvement. Defined strategies. Proven solutions. Everything you need for life-changing achievement.
Don’t go at this alone, get your spouse on board, find a “training” partner and the right social support to propel real progress. Remember procrastination isn’t simply about habits, it’s a deeper game; one in which you must master your mind and mental practices just as much as your actions. Find the right coach to constructively collaborate and speed up behavior change.
“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves to get well and move on.” –Unknown
That’s an incredible piece of advice for conquering procrastination. And it’s some of the best success advice…ever. It’s powerfully wise, yet much more difficult than making excuse for ourselves. It is much easier to deflect than to own our inability self-regulate and manage negative emotions.
Without forgiveness we become our own worst enemy.
Get away from short-term, instant gratification. Don’t give into the “feel good” strategy. Take the road less traveled…be honest with yourself, own your mistakes and use self-forgiveness as a future growth strategy.
Fulfill Your Dreams
When procrastination strikes, don’t beat yourself up. Hang on to your passion. Stick with your plan. Forgive your faults and get out there and fight. Lead with purpose and have fun doing it.
Procrastination is tough and hard to beat. But with dedication and commitment you can take back control and fulfill your dreams.
Where are struggling to overcome procrastination in your life and what excuses have you found yourself using? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets.