If you are like me, you have found yourself putting things off and heard that nagging voice talking to you. You know what I mean. You know that "should" voice. There are many reasons we procrastinate from lack of commitment to confusion to shame. Many of us have trouble getting started if the first step in the plan/process is too big. The antidote is to break the project into smaller, more manageable chunks. If there is too much on the plate, we resist taking action. Commitment to a high priority plan leads to action every time.
Avoidance and procrastination are often interchangeable. We avoid doing things that make us feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, afraid; like a "perceived" confrontation which could simply be nothing more than a conversation I need to have with my boss.
I coached an MBA who hadn't filed his taxes in seven years because he couldn't get the paperwork mobilized. He was procrastinating because he didn't even realize that what he needed was an accountant! Plus his boxes of receipts were stored in many locations and he was terrified to face the IRS. Who wouldn't procrastinate? LOL Sound familiar? The reality is that once he stopped and we talked it through he was able to dismantle all of the parts so that each became a manageable project. Within two months he was mobilized and had a payment plan in place to take care of business. If he could do it, we all can! Just a matter of learning how.
A few simple tips for what to do about our own procrastination:
- Assign a specific time to do one baby step: vagueness will get you more procrastination. "This week" or "later" doesn't cut it. Be specific about WHEN you are going to do it.
- Narrow your focus to ONE task. This is the antidote to being overwhelmed by everything we have to get done all at once which actually immobilizes us.
- Think of the benefits and what it will be like to get something started- or even finished. Think of the pain you are in right now because you are procrastinating and what that is costing you.
- Make it about progress and not perfection or as a client of mine used to say "Progress IS perfection". Perfectionism will stop us every time. This is about "good enough" and being perfectly imperfect.
- Reward yourself by treating yourself kindly and gently just like you would a friend who ran the marathon.
Here's to moving ahead in all of the places you are stopped.
Have a productive day!