Most of us experience prostration occasionally. However, some people procrastinate more than they’d like to, and 20% do it chronically even though it causes them real mental pain. How? By bringing forward remorse of not being productive, not accomplishing the goals they set out for themselves. It, in turn, creates negative self-talk and the loss of belief that you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you strategically plan and action it.
What exactly is procrastination then?
The more modern definition says that procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks that you were set to do. However, this human state though is so old, that even ancient Greeks coined a term Akrasia to describe situations when humans act against their better judgment. In other words, when you know, you should do something good for you, but instead, you do something else or nothing at all. You could say the term Arkasia is the ancient version of procrastination.
Let’s move on now to the main culprits for procrastination and how to avoid them (so that it doesn’t take you away from achieving your business or personal goals).
1. Lack of Clarity
When you lack clarity on what you want to achieve, it’s hard to focus.
If you don’t have any goals and only a vague idea of what you’d like to achieve, it’s almost impossible to get there. Then even if you have goals, but they are big and not specific enough, it’s hard to know where and how to start, let alone to accomplish them.
Don’t get me wrong; having bold goals is essential. It pushes your limits; you grow and end up achieving more than you ever could by aiming low. However, dreaming big is not sufficient, you need to break down those Big Hairy and Audacious Goals into smaller achievable chunks.
When you have that, you can easily envision the future you in your dream business. It then helps your mind see a long-term reward and concentrate on it as opposed to being only drawn to instant gratification. Moreover, crushing smaller goals derived straight from your BHAG’s gives your brain enough instant gratification to stay focused on the long term vision.
If a lack of clarity and focus are your reasons for procrastination in your business and you want help, then I have a challenge for you. Challenge yourself and join me for a FREE training Clarity & Focus starting September 23rd. In it, I will be walking you step by step on how to set strong and strategic foundations for your biz and drive clear and measurable BHAG ‘s. Afterward, you’ll be able to easily break them down into achievable chunks and end the pain!
To get in is as simple as sending me a PM or email at email@example.com with a one-liner “I want in.”
Perfectionism is a thief of time, draining your energy. It’s often paralyzing, preventing you from completing the tasks you set for yourself. No wonder it’s a perfect breeding ground for procrastination!
The truth is that perfection is always out of reach. That’s why it has such adverse effects not only on your productivity but also peace of mind.
If perfectionism is the cause of your procrastination, then the mindset that you can embrace instead is EXCELLENCE.
As Harriet Braiker said: “Striving for excellence motives you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”
Unlike the big scary “P,” the pursuit of excellence keeps you focused on what matters. It’ll fill you with energy and optimism. It’ll foster a willingness to try new things and take risks because you’ll be centering your attention on the journey, not a perfect outcome. And you know what happens next? You’ll find yourself surpassing the goals you set! For more motivation and inspiration to change your mindset to excellence, click here.
3. Overscheduling yourself
If you’re a high-achiever focused on accomplishing goal after goal after goal, experiencing procrastination must have a very demoralising effect on you.
Have you ever thought that it’s the overscheduling that’s the leading cause of this?
I know it might seem counter-intuitive. Especially because in point 1, I’m talking about setting clear goals. But it’s not when you look at yourself as a holistic human being.
As humans, we need to take care of our four dimensions to fully tap into our potential: heart, body, mind, and soul. Having a balance between them allows us to be most effective in professional and personal lives.
When you overschedule yourself and leave no room for the brain to relax and have some white space. It also needs time to rest. If your mind lacks that, you quickly become mentally exhausted. It, in turn, quickly leads to high stress and contributes to physical exhaustion. Moreover, any time something unexpected happens that you need to deal with, you fall behind. Because of your crazy schedule, any deviation and things pile up to a never-ending to-do-list.
The first step to ease this problem is to relax your schedule. Next, ensure that each day, you make room for mental and physical breaks. Then try to vary your days so that each week you accomplish a combination of business and personal goals. If you’re interested in reading more on how to treat yourself holistically, click here.
4. Presence of distractions
You probably also avoid starting a task that you feel uncomfortable doing. The discomfort comes from the fact that the job pushes you out of your comfort zone. For example: doing a live video on social media, designing a promo campaign with new software or picking up the phone and calling potential clients. No wonder it’s easy then to fall prey into a million distractions around you, especially when you run your business from home. The texts, emails, or FB messages are always there waiting for your answer and so easy to do. Or maybe it’s the pet that needs your attention or TV running in the background.
If it’s hard for you to tune out all distractions and focus on the task at hand, then try to ensure they aren’t present. Turn off the TV, go to a quiet room to work on the project and don’t take your phone in there. Make sure you’re not hungry before you start and that you’re doing it at a time when kids don’t need your assistance. You can also make it easier on yourself to start, for example, if you want to work on an important presentation, maybe prepare a template for it the day before. This way, all you need to do is to open it and create content when it’s time to work on it.
Sometimes you might procrastinate on something (for example starting a business you’ve been dreaming about) because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of being ridiculed or criticized.
My first advice is – understand fear first. Next, know that you are not alone. Most of the people experience the same doubts as you, whether they’re incredibly successful in what they’re doing or just starting. Lastly, take action. Taking action despite the fear is not only what differentiates the most successful people from the rest but also is the only way to conquer fear. Why? Because procrastination breeds fear. It’s more painful to be sitting there thinking about the task you want to do but are avoiding than actually doing it. When you start working on your goals, the pain dissipates, and confidence kicks in.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie
All in all, when you don’t have clear goals i.e., the destination for your business and a clear system for deciding, procrastination almost naturally creeps in. It’s easy then to use “I don’t feel like it” excuse and not to do something. However, the damaging mental effects procrastination has on our well-being are huge. The good news though is that you can fight it and overcome it! And it’s soooo worth it in the end.
That’s why I’m offering my FREE training, Clarity & Focus Challenge. I want to help you start fighting procrastination and the feeling of overwhelm so you can start crushing your goals in your business. 2020 is coming, and the sooner you start, the better you’ll be prepared to make it your best year ever!
To book your spot for the training is as simple as sending me a PM or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a one-liner “I want in.” I hope you take on this challenge and I’ll see you there! 🙂