Here is number 3 in this series on Procrastination. Many clients come to me struggling with the challenge of not being able to achieve what they want – often because they keep putting off till tomorrow what needed to happen today.
While at times it is better to wait till tomorrow, the constant ‘not getting things done’ is a pattern of procrastination that is a huge block to achieving what we want. It very often has so many layers to it that people become lost in it, sometimes for years, never really achieving what they want. If this sounds like you I hope you find this helpful! Love to hear your thoughts.
Right now COVID is highlighting the problem of procrastination, in part because people are having to work at home without some of the normal boundaries in place. But it is a problem for anybody who’s self-employed. Or when we want to make a change, perhaps lose weight, or set up a new exercise regime or achieve something substantial in our life. When these things loom we can tend to procrastinate and not get around to taking action.
The thing is a lot of us think that the motivation ‘to do’ is an almost magical step by step process of building towards a success.
In fact, it is nothing like that.
It’s actually much more of a journey of ups and downs. Sometimes we feel more motivated, sometimes we feel less motivated….. We feel like we can do it, then we can’t, we can, we can’t …. in the end though, it can become soul-destroying if we don’t get out of that can/can’t cycle.
That is because the ‘can’ts’ negatively impact our confidence in what we’re doing as much as the ‘can’s’ feel great. And because the brain is designed to seek happiness and avoid pain we start living for the ‘can’s’. Avoiding the ‘can’ts’. And start to feel really inadequate when we’re not operating at 100%. And so, in the end, we avoid doing anything that doesn’t give us that ‘I can do it!’ buzz.
So there are a few things that we can do to change our responses and make happen what we want to happen. One thing is looking at whether we’re actually willing to do it. (You can see my vlog here.) So stopping and thinking, ‘am I really willing to do this?’ is a really useful tool in your anti-procrastination tool-kit.
Another approach is the stick and the carrot – aiming towards something you really want while being aware of the negative consequences of not doing it. I talked about that here.
But now let’s look at accountability. Regularly checking in, making sure that you’re doing what you need to do to get where you want to go.
And let’s look at where you need to set that accountability level. You might be inclined to aim it at your fullest potential. Where you really want to hit. What you really think you are capable of – which, would be great if we always operated at that level. But as we live in a world where nothing really goes exactly as planned we actually cannot.
To set accountability that will stop us procrastinating keep us consistently stepping forward it needs to be set at about 70%. That means when you are operating at your average pace you can easily maintain it and when you are powering along you can exceed it (and get that nice buzz!). Keep the bar low.
And make sure you are accountable to something outside yourself. By doing so you have a much great chance of noticing when your motivation is dipping and procrastination is looming. Your accountability may be a written list (nothing like nailing that to-do list!) or you can recruit a friend, your partner or someone external. Whatever you choose make sure your accountability contains specifics like what is the actual target and timeliness of it.
So give it a go! Set up some accountability and make it happen!
Love to hear how you go. 🙂
******** This was written with the intention of helping you to live your best life, I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you think someone else would enjoy it please feel free to share it around.
if you want to know more about I can help you to overcome procrastination – in your business, personal or professional life – and help you Create The Life You Want To Live please do get in touch! ********
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