Do you recognize your favorite procrastinating line?
I will do it later.
I don’t have time right now.
These are common excuses we use when we don’t want to do something. This week there is a reoccurring theme in my coaching and it is procrastination. I’m guilty of this, too so I figured it’s time to actually talk about it.
When I ask a client (or even myself): “Why are you procrastinating about this?” The answers typically fall into these categories:
- I’m too busy
- I have more important things to do right now
I have heard ALL sorts of excuses. Last week, I made up a thousand excuses to put off reviewing a workshop.
Here’s the deal: The list of things we can procrastinate on is endless but the reason why is not. We procrastinate because we are purposefully avoiding a task FOR A REASON. Likely, because that reason will cause pain. Not pain in the “OMG it hurts!” kind of pain but rather pain caused by unpleasant feelings like fear, shame, and vulnerability.
To overcome procrastination, you need to acknowledge that you’re doing it and dig to find the source. Ask “Why am I avoiding this?” and, at first, you’ll give yourself surface answers. Excuses. Go further.
For instance, I asked myself why I was avoiding my workshop. Instinctually, I said, “I don’t have time.” A lie. I asked myself again: “Really Gina? Is that why you’re really avoiding the workshop?” Then, the real answer, the truth, started to form. The fact was: I was scared. This was a new endeavor and I’d need to step out of my comfort zone to do it. I was procrastinating because I liked the comfort zone.
The comfort zone is a dream killer. We like to dwell there because it’s cozy, but nothing ever happens there. It’s a world where ideas, opportunities, and experiences pass us by. It is safe and easy. And when we hang out there and procrastinate, we miss amazing things.
Here are some quick tips to nip procrastination in the butt and get on with it:
- Just do it. Take a deep breath and jump. The what if, the worse case scenario that you have in your head is always way worse than the reality. Once it is done you will feel way better.
- Break it down and tackle a little bit at a time.
If the full task is daunting – break it down into chunks and do a little at a time.
- Get a buddy. Share what you’re going to do with a friend and ask them to hold you accountable.
- Ask yourself: Is this really important? We sometimes don’t do things because we really don’t care. If that is the case move on.