6 WAYS PROCRASTINATION IS RUINING YOUR LIFE.
So let me ask you this? Are you a self sabotager? Someone who is a professional procrastinator? Someone who will find even the most ridiculous task to complete before attempting the actual task at foot? Well let me stop you right there so I can tell you STOP LABELLING YOURSELF A PROCRASTINATOR.
Procrastination is a habit that is learnt. When you tell yourself you ARE a procrastinator you are allowing it to become a label that attaches itself to your identity. It’s easier to unlearn a behaviour or habit than it is to remove a label from your identity.
Procrastination is a form of stress relief.
We all procrastinate it but when we start to look at the way procrastinating is really holding you back we can start to find new ways to tackle it and move past it to actually get shit done.
You’re stripping yourself of the chance to learn.
Failure isn’t a curse you should avoid at all costs. It’s a blessing in disguise. You won’t see it that way as your in the thick of it, but looking back on all my past failures, I needed to go through those things to actually get me to level up and get to the next stage of my life. Every difficulty in life presents opportunity whether you believe it or not, it’s true. Because there is always a choice to be made and each choice brings forth a new opportunity or possibility. Failure will help you learn, help you grow, help you reach whatever goal it is you’re setting out to accomplish. If you take away your chance to better yourself, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s much better for you to try, fail, and try again than to sit around waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Because you’ll never be ready. Ready is a lie and if you keep telling yourself you’ll start when you’re ready - chances are you never will.
You’re living in your head more than reality.
When you procrastinate, you spend a lot of time wondering what would’ve happened if you chose a different path, if you took a chance on yourself, if you put yourself out there earlier in life. You spend so much time in your head and if it’s a place where negative talk tends to reign, then you’ll be staying the same spot asking the same questions, repeating the same narrative over and over again. B ut if you push aside your fears and actually try, then you don’t have to wonder. The what-ifs won’t keep you awake at night because you’ll have your answer. You might not like it but it’s always better to know than to wonder. And I think that’s always an important point to remember - whether the outcome is good or not so good, it’s still an answer. And when you have the answer you can lay to rest that monkey mind that tries to run wild in your head and leave you guessing or second guessing every life decision you’ve made in life.
You’re not going to get any better while sitting around, waiting.
Thoughts and ideas are all well and good. Planning is also great, but it really doesn’t mean much until you marry the thoughts and ideas with action. There’s a difference between actively working on your craft and procrastinating by watching movies and television and pushing your dreams to the back of your mind. If you’re doing the latter, then there’s no reason to wait. You aren’t getting any better at your craft in the meantime. You might as well chase after your dreams today because nothing is going to change by tomorrow. You’ll still be the same person with the same skillset.
The moment is never going to be right.
Sometimes, it pays to stay patient and wait for your moment to strike. But usually, waiting for the right time is just an excuse. And as humans, we’re pretty good at making those. Your fear is holding you back. Perfectionism is another bi product of fear. But when we really think about it, all fear is, is just a bi product of the thoughts you create. You’ll hype yourself up over a simple thought and tell yourself 100 different narratives all of which none will be true but by that point you’ve talked yourself out of whatever it is you were planning on doing. You feel like you aren’t ready yet so you don’t want to try — but you might never feel ready and that’s the thing. You can try and be prepared and all planned out, but I see a lot of faults in being OTT organised and planned because what if something goes wrong? What if it doesn’t work out the way you had planned and Plan B, C and D also don’t work out? I say this because I used to be that OTT planner. And it used to send me in a downhill spiral of stress and anxiety when something didn’t work out because I had given myself such tunnel vision that I now couldn’t see the bigger picture, all I could see was a crash site. You might always have a reason to put your dreams on hold. If you let yourself, you could spend your entire life waiting and waiting without ever doing a damn thing. And nobody wants that for themselves.
You’re putting your life on hold.
You might not fail if you put in the effort. In fact you might actually succeed. The longer you wait to chase after your dreams, the longer it will be until you reach them. You need to start putting in the work now. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long time until you see results. And nothing happens over night. No success story happened when someone went to sleep one night and next morning woke up as Oprah. It doesn’t happen (unless you win the lottery), but point is start today with one baby step. And keep taking those baby steps until you get to the place you’re actually envisioning for yourself in 3 months, 6 months, 1 years time. I always just think, if I start today the version of myself in 6 months time will be thanking me for starting because I’m no longer 6 months behind.
You’re allowing your doubts to take control of you.
Even the most talented people on the planet have doubts about themselves. Even the biggest, richest CEO’s still google how to do things. They’ll still question whether they are good enough to succeed — and once they do, they question whether the success is going to last. It’s natural to be afraid of taking that next step. But you aren’t going to change your life by repeating the same patterns over and over. You need to put your future in your own hands. You need to play an active role in your own life and that requires showing up, day in day out even when you don’t want to. Because no one else is going to show up for you and take the reigns, that’s all on you.
So how do we try to move past being a professional procrastinator?
I’m currently writing a book and it’s been teaching me A LOT about myself. More so in ways that I thought I had truly mastered i.e fear of failing and rejection.
I’d come to realise that every time I’m stalling or putting off writing a chapter, it’s because the little kid in me is still so afraid of their english paper getting rejected. And so the process I'm learning through writing this book is healing my inner child. Telling her, it’s okay if we mess this up or get it wrong, because hey, at least we’re trying.
But to actually break the habit of procrastination in ANY task requires you to understand that a habit has 3 parts to it.
1st - Trigger
2nd - Pattern - in the case of procrastination that is to avoid the actual task at hand
3rd - Reward - in this case it’s stress relief
You might not be able to deal with the trigger but you can 100% change the pattern of avoiding the work and to do that you need to acknowledge the stress because procrastination is a sign that tells you ‘oh yep I;m stressed, I have all these things to do, no time to do it, holy shit, stress’
So count to yourself 5,4,3,2,1
Interrupt the habit and awaken the prefrontal cortex
Then do the thing whether that’s writing out an email, picking up the phone and dialling the number, sitting down and uploading the videos into the program before you begin editing. Whatever it is, spend just 5 minutes on that task. The reason they say 5 minutes is because you just need to start. And theres research that says once people start 80% will keep going. I know I sit in that bracket. And I prove it to myself every single time I start editing videos.
It’s why starting is so important. No matter how big or small the step you take is, it’s getting you further away from the starting point and towards the destination point.
I hope you found this weeks episode useful.