HELP!  I’m Procrastinating!

Procrastination is a trap that many of us fall into. In fact, according to many studies, approximately 95 percent of us procrastinate to some degree. While it may be comforting to know that you’re not alone, it can be sobering to realize just how much it can hold you back.

Is Procrastination the Same as Being Lazy?

Procrastination is often confused with laziness. They are very different.

Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing.  Laziness is the opposite. It’s an inactivity and an unwillingness to act.

Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, yet important task, in favour of one that is more enjoyable or easier.

Giving in to this impulse can have serious consequences.  If we procrastinate over a long period of time, we can become demotivated and disillusioned.

How to Overcome Procrastination

As with most habits, it is possible to overcome procrastination. Follow the steps below to help you to deal with and prevent procrastination:

Step 1:  Recognize Procrastination

You might be putting off a task because you’ve had to re-prioritize your workload. If you’re briefly delaying an important task for a genuinely good reason, then you aren’t necessarily procrastinating. However, if you start to put things off indefinitely, or switch focus because you want to avoid doing something, then you are.

You may also be procrastinating if you:

  • Fill your day with low-priority tasks.
  • Leave an item on your To-Do list for a long time, even though it’s important.
  • Read emails several times over without making a decision on what to do with them.
  • Start a high-priority task and then distract yourself by doing something else, such as go off to make a coffee.
  • Fill your time with unimportant tasks that other people ask you to do, instead of getting on with the important tasks already on your list.
  • Wait to be in “right mood,” or wait for the “right time” to tackle a task.

Step 2: WHY are You Procrastinating?

Understanding the reasons why we procrastinate is important in helping us move away from procrastinating.  

When we avoid doing an important task, more often than not, it is due to the fact that we are insecure with the task or unfamiliar with it.  In my experience, procrastination is fear in disguise.

When you attempt to take on a task that you’re not familiar with, the physiological body will commence to react with a faster heart beat, elevated blood pressure, amongst other physiological responses to fear.  The subconscious mind will begin to attempt to remove you from the situation or task. It will not be able to recognize whether or not you’re in physical danger. All its doing is responding to what is happening to your physiologically.

So you see, procrastinating is your subconscious mind reacting to a “fearful” situation.  It’s not laziness.

Step 3: Anti-Procrastination Strategies

Since procrastination is a learned fear based habit. This means that you may not break it overnight.

Forgive yourself for procrastinating in the past and be gentle with yourself.  Remember that yesterday no longer exists and you have your future ahead of you.

  1. Commit to the task. Focus on doing, not avoiding. Write down the tasks that you need to complete, and specify a time for doing them. This will help you to proactively tackle your work.
  2. Promise yourself a reward for when you complete a difficult task on time.   When you enjoy that reward, make sure you notice how good it feels to enjoy your reward and finish things!
  3. Ask someone to check up on you.  Accountability works! This is the principle behind Coaching and Master Mind groups. If you don’t have anyone to ask, an online tool such as, procrasterapp.com, can help you to self-monitor.
  4. Rephrase your internal dialog.  Rather than fill your thoughts with wishes, fill them with action.  You can’t fail, everything you take action on produces a result! The key is what do you do with the results?  Do you put a ‘label’ on it? Do you put a ‘label’ on yourself?
  5. Think and imagine… What would it be like?  What would it be like to telephone prospect? What would it be like to door knock? What would it be like to eat healthy?  What would it be like to succeed in Real Estate?

Procrastination is a learned fear based habit of delaying an important task, usually by focusing on less urgent, more enjoyable, and easier activities instead. It is different from laziness, which is the unwillingness to act.

Procrastination can restrict your potential and undermine your career.  So, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to prevent it. The first step to overcoming procrastination is to recognize that you’re doing it. Then, identify the reasons behind your behavior and use appropriate strategies to manage and overcome it.

Give yourself a fair chance… What would it be like?

I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment below

Sandra Porretta, Business Achievement Coach

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