Procrastination. We all suffer from it at various times. Waiting to start that big project. Waiting to do some household chore. Waiting to have a difficult conversation with an employee, colleague or family member. Most of the time we eventually work our way through it and get the things on our list done.
But the procrastination I find most concerning and detrimental is the behavior that gets in the way of a bigger vision. The clients I work with are high performing people. They have talents and gifts to offer the world. They know deep down inside that there is a bigger game to play, a bigger vision for their lives. My job is to support them in that vision and help them get there. Yet one of the common traits among my clients is that they often let procrastination get in the way of moving forward. There is an underlying fear of giving up something they are doing now in order to catch the bigger brass ring. It’s that chasm between what we know and what is possible.
Procrastination technically refers to the avoidance of a specific task or work which needs to be accomplished. But this technical explanation doesn’t begin to capture the emotions triggered by the word. If your are suffering from procrastination issues, its important to analyze those situations where your work or project is not being completed. Perhaps it’s one of the following reasons:
1. Lack of Relevance – If something is neither relevant nor meaningful to you personally, it may be difficult to get motivated to even begin. It’s important to determine if the goal, project, task is meaningful you. Working with either a coach or mentor, it’s important to dig deep to determine whether what you are avoiding is indeed relevant to you and your bigger vision. If the answer is it’s not, then let it go, get it off your list and figure out what is important.
2. Acceptance of Another’s Goals – Has a project been imposed or assigned to you by someone else? Maybe it is not consistent with your own interests, or values. If this is the case, you will probably get it done eventually — you may be “required” to get it done. But it doesn’t have to become part of your goal or vision.
3. Perfectionism-If you feel everything needs to be perfect before you can start a project, you may stay stuck for a very long time. I have clients who feel they need to have their website up and running before they can talk to a potential client, or they have to have a completely free schedule to start their book, or they have to have all of the right managers in place before they start working on team development. Certainly having a plan and timeline in place for each of these scenarios is helpful, but being able to see that “done is better than perfect” can help you start taking some small steps forward.
4. Fear-Many people fear taking steps that move them forward towards their vision or dream, because it means letting go of some of the things they are doing today. If, for example, someone wants to play on a bigger field, it may require giving up certain things they are doing today — things that bring in money or keep them at a certain status. It’s giving up what is familiar now for much greater possibilities down the road. By fully embracing your bigger vision, breaking down the steps and projects into bite-size pieces and continuing to hold that vision for yourself, can help lower the anxiety and actually get started.
5. Ambiguity-Are you unclear what is expected from a task, project or field work that has been assigned to you? This can be another roadblock to procrastinating behavior. By asking the pertinent questions upfront, you can be more clear as to what is expected.
6. Time Management- How are your time management skills? Working with a coach who can put you through an assessment or two around this area can quickly help you determine where you are with time management. By focusing on some of the areas that may play into your procrastination issues and taking some steps to improve them, could greatly improve your productivity.
7. Can’t Say No- Many times people suffer from procrastination because there is too much on their plate. Have you been unable to say “no” to others and then found yourself with so many projects you have become paralyzed? Look at everything on your plate and prioritize it. What can go, what should stay? Which items move you towards your bigger vision and which ones are sucking the life out of you? These are important questions to ask when sorting through all the various projects, tasks and commitments that you are currently facing.
If fear is holding you back from a bigger vision or playing bigger in the world, I would like to speak with you. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “we must do the thing we fear the most”.
I would like to hear your comments on this post. Or if something resonated with you, please feel free to contact me at 207-653-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the conversation.
- What are You Waiting For? (vanessabrightsite.com)
- The Now Habit Summary ” How to get organized, how to be productive, GTD, Swift To-Do List tips and tricks – Dextronet Blog (dextronet.com)
- time management productivity (simplify101.com)