Whenever I am getting ready to coach a new client I sent them a questionnaire to complete with a bazillion questions on it, and one of the questions is asking them their ‘worst habits’.
Invariably (from every 2nd or 3rd person) I will get this…”I procrastinate”, or even worse…”I AM a procrastinator”.
If you have followed any of my work in my books and workshops you know I am much more a fan of the not-kind-to-self statements that don’t have an “I AM” out the front.So this post is definitely for the people who DO procrastination; and for that those have bought into the mistaken belief that they ARE a procrastinator, don’t worry because the insights and tools to untangle that story are relevant for you too.
And so we begin.
The principle causes of procrastinationThis is what I have found to be the major causes of the experience of procrastination:
1) UNCLEAR (or non-existent) GOALS.
2) Uninspiring or IMPOTENT GOALS.
3) A POOR PLAN or no plan at all.
Because here is the thing.
Have you ever heard yourself say aloud or inside that beautiful head of yours, the following words:
“There is never enough time.”
Are you guilty?!?! (remember that the truth will set you free…he he he).
If you don’t have enough time, to get done what you figure needs getting done, how can you find the time to procrastinate? So it is not really a time thing. It is about the FUEL you are using to take you forward in life.
So the ANTIDOTE to procrastination is (firstly) stop calling yourself a procrastinator and then stop doing procrastination and instead DO the following things….
The (obvious) antidotes to procrastination
And yes, it is obvious and it is easy(ish) to do. But what is easy to do, is also easy not to do. So stop procrastinating over whether it is a good idea, or not, to do this stuff and just DO IT!!
1. Clear Goals
Take the time out to get clear about what it is that you really want to be working on in this precious life of yours. And before you freak out and say those not-so-helpful words “But I don’t know”; understand this. You don’t have to work out your primary goal for the next 30 years.
Be cool with bite sized pieces. Come up with clear goals for the next 3 – 18 months. And if that is too much, come up with a clear goal for the week. And be smart and humble enough to ask for quality help if you need a hand to figure that out.
Got it? I know you have. No chance of using the excuse of “But I didn’t understand what you meant.” This is not rocket science. This is back to basics.
2. Meaningful and Inspiring Goals
This ties in very closely with the first point. It is no good if you have clear goals, but they are completely uninspiring. Clarity is not enough when it comes to goals. And in fact, the meaningfulness of your goals will actually trump how crystal clear you are with your goals.
It is really hard to stay focused on a goal if it does not MOVE you. As the saying goes: emotion creates motion. You need to work on goals that actually inspire you. That are fulfilling and exciting and scary and meaningful. They draw your attention.
They are so interesting they pull you away from this thing called procrastinating. Who wants to do procrastinating when the alternative is to be working on something that is fulfilling and challenging and inspiring and connects you to something bigger than yourself?
If the choice is procrastinate or work on an inspiring project, which do you think will win?
3. A Quality Plan
It does come in handy to have a plan.
When you get clear of your goal and then you work on an effective plan to achieve that goal, you start creating for yourself a road map. You have certain things that need to be done. And there are probably a whole bunch of them, depending on the size of the goal you are tackling.
So no need to procrastinate, because you have a number of things that need doing.
The elephant in the room
And YES I am aware of the elephant in the room.
Some of you might be ready to tell me that you already have goals and a plan and yet you still procrastinate, so I will draw your attention back to NUMBER 2…Meaningful and Inspiring Goals.
If you do have goals and a plan and still procrastinate, I am here to get really honest with you and tell you it is probably time to revisit your goals and maybe even put them in the recycle bin. Or dig a little deeper. Or modify them a little or a lot. Find that thing that draws your attention. That fascinates you. That intrigues you. That challenges you. That you have been hiding from.
If you have a goal and plan and still procrastinate then I suggest you go back to the drawing board.
Sorry. As Morpheus (on the movie The Matrix would say) “I am only offering you the truth.”
The final formula
A clear and meaningful goal + a great quality plan = no time to procrastinate.
I often have the thought that time is short.
So if I have some big and meaningful things that I want to get done in the time I have on this planet, then I better get cracking. And I just don’t have time to procrastinate.
I also have a footnote. It is totally fine (and productive and healthy) to sometimes do nothing. To just be. To daydream. To stroll through the park. To read a fiction book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be a strategic move to take downtime so you have enough energy and space in your mind, to do the bigger things that need doing. So these activities are great if they are a strategic part of your ‘great quality plan’.
There is a difference between procrastination and clearing your mind with a stroll through the park.
If you want a hand figuring out your meaningful goals and the master plan, you know how to find me. I would be more than happy to help out.
So have a super fabulous day…and now get back to work!!!!!
Just joking…he he he.
Take care and much love.
Want help with getting clear about you path, priorities and a sustainable plan? Then get in contact. Just reply to this email or connect with me on Facebook.