A Business Coach Reveals Her Secret to Beating Procrastination
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me "how do I stop procrastinating?" let's just say I'd be bathing in Dom Perignon and living in a Faberge house.
Procrastination is something all too familiar to many of us, and in my opinion, is the silent killer of dreams, ambition, and often self-belief.
I think what most people don't realise however is that procrastination is not a one-size-fits-all issue, or a simple absence of the productivity gene. There are many reasons why we subconsciously delay the completion of tasks, and the most common two are fear, and lack of purpose.
I could prescribe to you today five hacks or 10 tips on how to beat procrastination, but I promise you, no app, no timer, no planning tool or frog strategy is going to guarantee productivity when you need it most.
To overcome procrastination once and for all you need to identify the emotional force behind your postponement, as this will allow you to pivot towards a more sustainable and reliable solution.
Our brains have an intelligent toolkit for keeping us safe from danger—fight (defend ourselves), flight (run away), or freeze (don't do anything, aka procrastinate). The only trouble is our brain struggles to distinguish between the fear of a shark attack and the fear of failure or rejection. Ultimately, when we begin to fear situations in our careers or our businesses, our brain will activate the freeze response in order to keep us safe.
If you find yourself procrastinating starting or completing something you know you want to do, like publishing that blog post or applying for that dream job, turn inside and ask yourself why I am doing this? What am I afraid of? The next step then would be to thank your dear sweet brain for its concern, reassure it that this is not a life or death situation, inhale and take the leap.
Lack of Purpose Procrastination
The second common dress that procrastination wears is the lack of purpose. We as humans thrive off purpose and often find it hard to do things without a compelling understanding of why it is we are doing it in the first place. If someone told you to do 1000 burpees, it is likely you would offer them a less than polite middle finger gesture. If someone asked you to do 1000 burpees and you would receive ten thousand dollars, you would be chest to ground before anyone could say go.
Although we are not always going to have someone throwing cash at us to get us through our workday, we can retrain our mind to look at the bigger picture by continuously reaffirm our goals and our ultimate desires.
In the worst of times, you can always have fun by creating an imaginary chain of events, and hey, you never know, maybe that tedious data entry will be noticed by your boss who then does give you that considerable pay rise so you can finally book that trip to Thailand.