Who has ever felt so motivated to get going on a project but when the time comes to start procrastination hits you like a tonne of bricks? Suddenly you notice the minutes and hours rushing by. Want to know the secret to why you do this?
First, let’s start by recognising the signs. You know you are procrastinating when:
- Reducing your emails becomes the new priority
- You start revising what you did yesterday even though you don’t need to
- Suddenly you have the urge to file that paperwork that’s been sitting there far too long!
- [Insert any other distraction that draws you to it like a shiny beacon]
It’s now lunchtime and you have a 2 o’clock meeting scheduled, leaving yourself under pressure to finish what you haven't yet started at the end of the day. There goes the gym on the way home!
So you want to know the secret to all procrastination? Totally, absolutely it will be a fear of some type that blocks you from doing what you know you should be doing but don’t do!
Let me say that again – the only reason why we procrastinate is fear.
Yep, that’s right. Have a think about the last thing you procrastinated about. What reason stands out the most from this list? Is it the fear of:
- Uncertainty of the unknown
- Not being good enough
- People not liking you
- That you will feel like you don’t belong
If you are anything like me you will find this trait very annoying! So much time is wasted through procrastination. And even though logically you know it’s silly, you just can’t seem to break the cycle.
As a serial procrastinator at times, let me share some of the techniques I’ve used to overcome it and get heaps checked off that to-do list!
- Check in with your purpose
Whether you are a leader in an organisation, run your own business or volunteer for an organisation close to your heart you will have a reason why you do what you do. Asking “for what purpose?” is a great starting point when working out why you actually want to achieve what’s on your ‘to-do’ list.
Simon Sinek (famous for his TED Talk and book Start With Why) sums it up with this metaphor:
- Set yourself up to succeed
At times your to-do list can be as long as your arm! Don’t tell yourself “unless you have ticked everything off for the day you haven’t achieved anything”. Instead, work out the top 3 things that would make the biggest difference. And do them. Remember the old 80/20 rule – spend 80% of your time on the 20% of work that is going to make the biggest impact.
- Plan the night before
In order to hit the deck running, take 15 minutes out of your day the night before to plan what you will be doing as soon as you start work. Of course there may be distractions that are warranted that you need to focus on first. But when you are back on your own schedule, you know exactly what it is you’ll be doing.
- Eat the frog
Imagine that the one thing on your to-do list that is going to make the biggest difference was a live frog. (A big hint here is that it’s likely to be the same thing you have procrastinated on for the past week!) If the first thing you do each day is eat the frog, then you can move on with the satisfaction of knowing that it is perhaps the worst thing that is going to happen for the whole day. Remember, the longer that frog sits looking at you, the harder it is going to be to eat it.
- Acknowledge the fear and do it anyway!
Accept the only thing holding you back is fear, then go ahead and do what you are avoiding. Remember, fear and courage cannot exist at the same time. So forge ahead and do it anyway, then fear will go. Trust me on this one – it’s pretty amazing! If you want to read more about this you can here.
Want to find out more about how you can overcome fear and stop procrastinating? Contact for a complimentary, no-obligation discovery session so we can find out if we’re a great match.
Tags: eat the frog fear leadership procrastination simon sinek start with why success