What’s your understanding of procrastination?
If you have just conjured up an image of someone who is paralysed with inactivity then I’d say you are right, but only half right.
I believe there are two types of procrastinator.
You have those who procrastinate by putting off until next year what could be done today. And then you have those who procrastinate through action.
Yes, this may seem like an oxymoron, after all so many say that ‘action overcomes procrastination’. However I’m turning that on its head!
It is indeed possible to be a procrastinator even when you are taking action on a daily basis.
How you may ask?
Well it’s something I realised I was a master at a couple of years ago when building my web design business.
My husband would come home and say words to the effect of “How did you get on today, any new clients?” and my response would be with feigned enthusiasm along the lines of “no new clients but I managed to tick ABC off my to-do list”.
You may be thinking surely ticking things off a to-do list is a good thing.
But I would give my response knowing that there still remained at least 23 more letters of the alphabet on my to do list that I would ‘need to focus on’ the next day and the day after that and…Well you catch my drift.
However the reality was I already had everything I could possibly need setup. The website, branding, social media etc. were already in place. So what on earth was I actually keeping myself so busy with and why?
I was an action taking procrastinator!
I was using my self-imposed busyness as a way to avoid doing the money-making tasks in my business. Yes I had some serious money hang-ups and was all too happy to do anything and everything that would keep me from being visible and selling my services.
At first it was subconscious. I didn’t actively realise this was what I was doing. But here’s the truth…if you want to be a success in business and in life, you can’t keep hiding behind the unnecessary.
There will never be perfection and something is always going to need tweaking or changing but ask yourself:
- Do you need to be the one to do it? #delegate
- If only you can do it, is everything going to fall apart if you move it down the priority list? Likely not.
- Are you really just procrastinating and creating tasks as excuses?
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE AN ACTION TAKING PROCRASTINATOR?
There are a few undeniable traits:
- You’re always busy but never making real progress.
- You’re to-do list is constantly filled with tasks that will have no impact on your goals or bottom line.
- Someone else’s beautiful brand, website, workbooks, videos, life etc. easily throw you off-track and all of a sudden you think your work needs an overhaul before you can put it out there.
- You’re frustrated, at least on a subconscious level by everyone who seems to be jumping ahead of you whilst seemingly working far less hours.
- Deep down you’re likely exhausted of always having things to do. Go on you can be honest about it!
HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME THE ISSUE?
I wish I could say there’s a simple fix; but overcoming anything is rarely simple.
However putting a rational hat on is a good starting point.
On a granular level you can:
- Look at your to do list/think about all the things that consume your time and ask yourself if they are making a positive impact on your business and lifestyle.
- Write out a list of all the activities you know you should be doing but are secretly (or maybe not so secretly) avoiding because you are afraid.
- Be bold, brave and try just one of those fear inducing activities so that you can see the world doesn’t come crashing down around you when you do it. I promise you it won’t and if it does then we are all doomed so it really doesn’t matter!
- Set clear goals. Knowing what you want to achieve and creating clear action steps to get you there will help you stay on course.
- Ignore what everyone else is doing and focus on your own special gifts, because whether business, life or family related only you can deliver your specialities.
- Be intentional in literally everything you do. Think about its purpose and ask yourself – why am I doing this? If you can’t come up with a good enough reason then remind yourself life is short and you doing that activity is a waste of precious time.
Ultimately I hope this helps you to recognise that if you are indeed an action taking procrastinator your aim is to get to the root cause of why. Fear shows up in so many ways, but hiding behind busyness, or anything else, is not going to serve you.
Being bold, being brave and pushing the boundaries is the best way to get to where you want to be. Yes it’s easier said than done, but holding yourself back through any means is a disservice to both you and those who could benefit from the impact you are destined to make.