I’m a world-class champion at procrastination! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and then dragged my feet until the very last minute on doing something about it.
Do you have a new project to launch? A book to write? A brand new business idea to get off the ground? Maybe you’ve dreamt about quitting your 9-to-5 to become a freelancer, but something is causing you to pump the brakes.
What’s that about!!?!
How do we stop the vicious cycle of procrastination and figure out what’s really underneath it all?
My guess is it’s one of three things…
- Fear of failure
- Overload and overwhelm
- 3 simple steps to stop procrastination
- If this thought of the day inspired you…
- Join us and become a Simplifier!
- Watch the video version of this episode
Fear of failure
I’m talking Fear (with a capital F).
Fear leads to negative self-talk.
That’s what you do to rationalize yourself out of taking action, because of a deep-rooted fear of failure. This auto-response kicks in because your brain says, ‘hey, you are guaranteed NOT to fail if you don’t attempt something.’
In this instance, procrastination is used as a protection mechanism, keeping you ‘safe’ from the possibility of real failure.
If this sounds familiar, consider this; mistakes are simply learning and new information. They take you closer to your desired outcome.
Only not making an attempt is failing. There are only 2 states of being in life – growing and dying. Not attempting… or doing nothing… is equal to moving backwards.
Fail fast and learn faster. That’s a core value for The Simplifiers and it rings true here. Understand and accept that failure is not fatal. Most mistakes can be fixed and everything (in the grand scheme of things) is going to be alright.
Another cause of ‘not doing the thing’ is perfectionism. Over-the-top, excessive perfectionism.
Have you ever found yourself saying, ‘oh, I couldn’t possibly do that task yet because I don’t have _____, _____, or _____ and I need that in place first?’
Which, to a certain extent, I can completely understand. I’ve said it too… many times.
And friends, what I’ve learned in the last 15 years of running The Simplifiers is this…
It. Will. Never. Be. Perfect.
I mean like, NEVER.
You just have to push it out in to the world and vow to continually learn and refine. Take daily, imperfect action. And keep going. Done is better than perfect.
Progress can only be made when you step out boldly and put one foot in front of the other. And #Dothething.
Overload and overwhelm
You know—as well as I do—that our lives are made up of thousands of choices. The big ones, like ‘where am I moving to next?’, and the small ones, like ‘what shall I have for breakfast?’, all have an impact on our energy levels, our mental health, and our outlook on life.
You might be hitting a wall due to choice overload, causing you to freeze, and ultimately do nothing. That’s when the overwhelm kicks in.
And while some things in life are way outside of our control (the weather, other people and their emotions, a bird pooping on your car), one thing you can change is how you take care of yourself, mentally and physically.
If you’re feeling sluggish or have low energy levels, this might be feeding into your habit of procrastination. Have you ever thought, ‘I’ll do it later… I’m too exhausted right now, maybe tomorrow?’
This might be due to insufficient sleep, what you eat, or how much you’re moving your body.
I know my energy level is in direct relation to how much plant-based foods I eat, and whether I make it to the gym this week. When I don’t do these things, my energy levels drop and my motivation to get anything done, drops too.
And hey, that’s not always bad. If you want a donut, eat a donut. If you want a duvet day to step back and get some rest, by all means do it.
But also vow to pull yourself up and out of it by setting a predetermined time or date in your calendar and stick to it. It might look like this… ‘okay, at 2pm, I’m going to #Dothething‘.
Our bodies and minds work in cycles. Nourish yourself. And then get back to taking action.
Okay, so now we understand what’s driving the procrastination. Here’s what to do about it.
3 simple steps to stop procrastination
1. Get it out
Set a 7-minute timer and journal out the underlying fears.
‘What’s stopping me from taking action right now and why?’
2. Map it out
Ask yourself ‘What are the first 5 steps I need to take in order to begin?’
Even if you don’t have a clear path to completion, just take the next step. Remember, done is better than perfect. You got this.
3. Ask for help
Tell somebody what you are doing.
Tell the Universe, tell your clients, tell your business coach, trusted partners and colleagues. Ask people to hold you accountable along the way, so you hit your key milestones, big and small.
This week, I’ve been procrastinating with putting the Christmas tree up at my parent’s house. I’m here in Texas, helping out while my mom is in hospital. Juggling the 12-hour daily hospital shifts, my workload and all the things, this task kept falling by the wayside, over and over again.
Until I took my own advice… and asked for help.
Friends came by, lent a helping hand, we laughed and had a good time together. And the task got done in no time at all.
Same, same in a work situation. Reach out to your business coach, your VA or your team. Stop trying to carry it all, all by yourself. This will help you break out of procrastination mode, and FAST.
And just one final whisper, just from me to you, dear friend… come in closer.
I mean, c’mon… even as I sat down and wrote out the talking points for this episode, I found myself subconsciously being pulled away to surf the internet and got distracted by notifications.
It happens to the best of us.
And sometimes, that’s your body or mind telling you that it’s afraid. Afraid of failure. Afraid of not getting it absolutely perfect. Afraid of the changes that will come when you #Dothething.
I get it.
But what I also know is true is this…
You are capable of great things.
You are full of radiance and inspiration… and you know when it’s time to 5-4-3-2-1-LAUNCH! like Mel Robbins says in her amazing book. And get up and take action.
Everything you need already sits inside you.
You can do this, I believe in you.
It’s time to SIMPLIFY.
If this thought of the day inspired you…
Snap a photo of you doing the thing and send it to me via Instagram, privately or publicly… just tag @thesimplifiers – I’ll be your virtual accountability buddy in your quest to simplify your life.
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As always friends, keep things simple.
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