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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:

  1. Get to the bottom of what’s REALLY holding you back by questioning yourself and being totally honest with your answers.
  2. Acknowledge whether those feelings are valid or imagined.
  3. Ask yourself ‘what if’ the best outcome happens?  How would that change things and how would it make you feel?
  4. 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.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Really great read. I find I put a lot of things off and a lot has to do with negativity and thinking it will just be a much more strenuous task mentally than it really is

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  • Yes I am a procrastinator. Thanks for sharing.

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  • My years of experience in organizing and managing events provided me with a habit of get things done quickly if not straight away. I hardly had any thoughts of procrastination. A good trait in me I guess.

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  • I used to procrastinate but now I am too busy to waste anytime… kids do that!

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  • I procrastinate only when I worry and can’t decide what to do . Once I make up my mind , it is a big sigh of relief and then hopefully it gets back to normality ( whatever that is ) . This also happens when crucial decisions need to be made and you don’t know what to do . We are all human .

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  • I used to procrastinate a lot when i was at uni but since having kids i just get what i need done.

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  • After reading the article I still procrastinated about writing a comment….and then deleted it….and re-wrote it a few times. The story of my life. Thank you!!! Great read

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  • yes do the unpleasant things first and then enjoy the rest. i can put things off but i am old enough now to realise that i probably shouldn’t

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  • I love to get on with things and often tackle the hardest thing first as then all other jobs seems easier! I actually need to slow down at times as not everyone has the same pace and expectations of getting things done. It feels incredibly good and liberating to get things done. Great article and tips and good to question one’s motivation.

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  • Majority of your article resonates with me and I usually self sabotage those things that are solely for me. Awareness is definitely the key. I’m thinking I need more effort here ;)

    However…

    Time can sometimes really be the issue and I think it’s worth acknowledging that so you can refocus on what’s important. Only then can you move from procrastinating to actively deciding to let some things go.

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  • some of these things resonate with me. I put off an assignment if it looks too complicated – but when I break it down into smaller steps and do one thing at a time. however if something is easy I also put it off to the last minute as I think I can knock it over quickly but once I start doing it all I am rushing to get it finished.

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  • Fortunately I’m not a procrastinator, but my husband is.

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  • As a general rule i am not a proscrastinator. However, at times there are exceptions to this rule.


    • LOL! Holidays are quite often the exception!

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  • When I have work to do at home my biggest struggle is choosing to do housework over my paid work because I keep thinking about the melt down my young primary school kids will have if school excursion forms, uniforms & meals are not organised! I also think of how much I hate having to do dishes when I am trying to prepare dinner – so always choose washing dishes over my paid work so at least home routines are stuck to & I feel organised at home. The consequence is I often end up working flat out at the office & on the days I work at home burn the candle at both ends with late night & early mornings which results in me becoming very tired!!


    • Many years ago when working from home, I had the same sort of struggle. I decided that I would be really strict about dividing up my time and I would do one home task and one business task, and keep alternating throughout the day. That way nothing got left out, all the high priority jobs were done and I was never bored!

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  • No, I don’t think I’m a procrastinator. I always try to look at what has high priority and that what has low priority and do the things with high priority first. Getting things out of the way and getting things out of the way I don’t like to do gives a good feel and helps me to relax.

    Reply

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