You know how it goes…“Yeah, I know I should do that, but I’m gonna do X then Y then Z first!”
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You’ve got a job you need to do but you keep putting it off. Could be as simple as hanging out the washing or as comprehensive as putting together a detailed report for a client.
Whatever it is, I absolutely guarantee that TIME is not your issue.
I regularly hear my clients talk about how they don’t have time to do those important jobs. They tell me they’re so busy that they just plain old run out of time.
I call that an excuse, or more precisely, a mindset block.
Something in your head is telling you not to do that and it’s almost always not specifically related to that job, at all.
Not sure what I mean?
Don’t worry, it’s not always easy to understand because we’ve been doing it all our lives without even realising.
Let me give you an example. This morning I had a coaching session with a client who I am helping to get organised so she can launch her new business. She has a solid list of things to do, yet she stalls on some of the most obvious and important ones. She told me this morning that she knows she should get her sales page up online, but for some reason she’s been putting it off.
Her initial thought was that it’s just too hard and she’s not sure what to do, but then we got into the questioning and discovered that there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
If she puts up her sales page, then she will have a REAL business and then if she has a REAL business she’s expected to make money from it. But what if nobody signs up? What if she never makes any money? What if the possibility that she doesn’t get as much interest as she was hoping for means that she’ll feel like a failure and want to quit before she’s even properly started?
Her unconscious mind wants to protect her from all that annoying pain and worry (cos hey, us girls are especially good at that worrying bit, aren’t we!), so it lets her put it off and put it off.
Same goes for hanging out the washing. About the only thing that I like about hanging out the washing is that I’ll save a few bucks on my massive electricity bill when I don’t use the dryer. So, there’s really little motivation for me. Add to that the fact that I know I’ll then have to go and get it off, fold it up, sort it into piles and then put it away (oh, and there’s the chance my dog will rip it off the line too) – my issue’s not with hanging out the washing but all that yucky stuff that I know will follow.
So, how do you know what’s holding you back and causing your own procrastination?
You ask yourself questions. Be really honest with yourself and you might be surprised where you end up.
- Putting off making a phone call – Are you worried about rejection or bad news? What could that lead to? How would you feel then?
- Putting off painting your lounge room? Worried about not being able to cut in the edges neatly? Don’t really want to move the furniture? Not sure you’ve chosen the right colour? See, it’s not the actual painting; it’s all the parts that go along with it.
- Feel that at this point in your life you should have an investment property? You get started researching and then you stop the process, never actually following through far enough to buy anything. Are you worried about losing your job/income/financial stability? Concerned that your kids will need some cash to get established? Worried that you’ll make the wrong decision and end up with a dud investment?
And, how do you overcome those issues to actually move forward?
Well, once you’ve recognised your own patterns of self sabotage, you’re half way there. The rest of it is about asking yourself WHAT IF. What if I make that call and I get great news? What if I paint the lounge room and it looks totally awesome? What if I buy that property and it makes me $100,000 in a year?
It’s also about learning what works for YOU.
So, if I know that I hate folding the washing, maybe I learn that when I do it while watching my favourite TV show, it’s really not that bad. So – make a date with the TV and that dreaded washing basket.
When I used to work in Property Management, my boss complimented my ability to make the hard phone calls. The ones you know are going to upset someone so you usually cringe about making them. Well, I just learned what felt best for me. I would wait until everyone else was out of the office and then make those difficult calls. When nobody else could hear me, I felt more comfortable and in a position of power. So, it worked for me.
When you realise that you’re procrastinating, you should:
- Get to the bottom of what’s REALLY holding you back by questioning yourself and being totally honest with your answers.
- Acknowledge whether those feelings are valid or imagined.
- Ask yourself ‘what if’ the best outcome happens? How would that change things and how would it make you feel?
- Figure out what works best for you moving forward, to be able to do your job with the most efficiency and fun. It could be simpler than you think!
Are you a procrastinator? What’s your biggest struggle? Please share in the comments below.