It’s time for a major #truthbomb…..we ALL procrastinate sometimes.
So take comfort in the fact that you’re in some majorly good company. And don’t beat yourself up about it…it’s really easy to come down on ourselves when we put off stuff that we know needs to get done.
But whyyyyyyy is it so easy to procrastinate? You’ve set all the best of intentions to get this important sh** done, and yet you can’t bring yourself to actually do it. Time just keeps ticking by……aaaand nothing.
There’s a huge gap between those intentions and the actions you’re actually taking. What’s up with the dang disconnect??
Do any of these common reasons for procrastinating make you think “Mmmmhmmm yep that’s totally me”?
— You’re not sure where exactly you should start
Starting really can be the hardest part. Ask yourself what the very first thing is that you can do. Right now. What’s the smallest, easiest, tiniest, most doable thing? Do you need to ask someone a question? Make a list? Read a workbook? Download a file? Just focus on getting that one simple thing done first. Then move on to the next small step, and the next and the next. Once you take a step to get started, no matter how small, it’s very likely you’ll keep going.
— You feel really overwhelmed at the thought of working on it
Break down that project or goal into small bite-sized to-do’s. Even things like “send an email to so-and-so”, “download a PDF file” and “brainstorm three ideas” count. This will give the project some structure, making it much easier to act on. And getting down to biz with a quick and dirty to-do is much easier than tackling a huge, vague and complex task.
— You’re worried or anxious about the outcome
Ask yourself what the worst possible outcome could be (PRO TIP: this could include obvious things like fear of failure, criticism or judgement, but also fear of success….whoaaaaa!) While you’re at it, list all the costs of not getting it done. Then ask yourself what’s the best thing that could happen. What positive impact will it have? How will it affect your life for the better? Remember this best thing for a helpful boost of motivation.
— It’s super boring. Or very difficult. Or really frustrating.
Do your boring work, errands and tasks with a friend, or awesome music blasting, or in a space you love like a cool coffee shop or coworking space. You can also make it into a game! Set mini deadlines for each task and give yourself a reward each time you meet one. Or challenge a friend to see who can get each of their tasks done first.
If it’s difficult, ask for help. It’s OK, we all need help sometimes! Or outsource it. It’s super easy to hire VA’s (virtual assistants) these days, with businesses like Uplevel Solutions.
Find it frustrating? Start by researching what you need to know, so you’re totally prepared, can create a plan of action and then take it slow. Maybe work on it for just a little bit of time – even 15 minutes – each day.
— It needs to be perfect
If you’re constantly tweaking, revising and stuck in “planning mode”, ask yourself “What do I think being perfect, or doing a perfect job, will give me?” Consider if it’s 80% done, is that OK? Hint: yep it probably is. What’s the worst that will happen? Remember that we’re always our own worst critic, and others almost never see the “imperfections” that we do. They’re usually just happy and grateful to have what we’ve given them.
PS: Done is better than perfect.
— You want revenge
It’s not as evil as it sounds 😂 but “revenge bedtime procrastination” is a real thing. If you find yourself putting off sleep so that you can have more time for fun and leisure activities, this probably applies to you.
It’s like you’re getting “revenge” on your daytime hours, during which you had no free time for your personal life and me-time stuff because you were just too busy all day, obligated to other things like work, taking care of others, etc.
— You have no clue why you’re procrastinating
Try some stream of consciousness journaling. Just get a pen and lots of blank paper and write the question “Why am I procrastinating?” at the top. Without stopping, just write. It doesn’t matter what you write down, whether it’s related directly to procrastination or not, the important thing is to keep writing, without stopping. You’d be surprised at the awareness you gain from this exercise. And once you’re aware of the obstacle, then you can take steps to overcome them. Set a timer for 5, 10 or 20 minutes…whatever make you feel comfortable. Keep your pen to paper the whole time.