How often do you sit down to start a difficult task or research a boring project, only to find you can’t get going?
Do you get distracted away by emails, scrolling on social media or other less important tasks? I know I put off overwhelming or dull activities with a ‘just’ distraction. “I’ll just get another coffee first” or “I just need to have a chat with Simon before I begin”
Even when you are fully committed to completing an action the temptation of procrastinating and staying stuck can be too much.
Procrastination is the act of intentionally putting something off in a habitual way. Most of us procrastinate at some time but 20% of us are chronic procrastinators; which means putting things off has become a core behaviour.
There are 3 main types of procrastinator:
- Arousal procrastinator (interesting name!) – these people like the rush of having to do something at the last-minute
- Avoiders – who put off a task as they’re afraid of failure or even of success
- Decisional procrastinators – who fear making a decision in case it’s the wrong one
Do you recognise yourself in one or all of these?
The triggers for procrastination are when we believe a task is:
- Unstructured or ambiguous
- Not valuable in itself
- No personal meaning or benefit
What determines whether we procrastinate though, isn’t the task itself but how we feel about it. This comes from the belief we have about that situation.
For example; you may procrastinate about writing a report because it feels boring. But, if you dig deep to the beliefs behind this feeling what is actually going on? In the case of the report, it could be you’re actually feeling overwhelmed because you’re worried the report won’t be good enough.
Imagine you know you need to sort out your finances to understand your spending You could easily procrastinate on this and might believe it’s because it’s going to take a long time and you don’t want to start what you can’t finish. If you dig deeper for the real fear behind you putting it off, could it be you’re scared that the situation is worse than you thought?
By identifying the real fear behind procrastination you can then shift that belief to a more constructive motivator. For example, in the example with your finances, you could replace the old fear with the belief that doing your finances may take time but it’ll be worth it as you can start making changes sooner.
There are hundreds of techniques to overcome procrastination out there, but you need to clarify and shift the real fear behind it for them to work.
If procrastination is an issue for you and you’d like to hear more strategies to overcome it. Do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com