How to Beat Procrastination

Published by Mikala on

As you work to develop your personal productivity muscle it is really important to be aware of procrastination and distraction which really are productivity’s two greatest arch nemeses and despite what you might think, they are actually two very different concepts. In this blog post, I will be discussing procrastination and in my next, I will be discussing distraction. You can read my post about distraction here.

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something.

According to Google

It’s something we’re all familiar with. You’ve got a deadline looming whether that be self-imposed or imposed by an outside force like a client, but the thing is when the time comes to work on it you just really don’t feel like doing the thing you need to do right now, so you choose to avoid it. 

So procrastination is essentially an active decision that you make to avoid doing something.

If you have been listening to the Work Wife Wine Time podcast, you will have heard Gemma and I talking in depth about our and others’ theories on procrastination.

Master Coach and founder of The Life Coach School, Brooke Castillo, says that most people never see their dreams come to life because of procrastination. They put off taking action toward what they want because they feel lazy, overwhelmed, or fearful, or they indulge in another emotion that’s preventing them from creating something. In other words they let their future just happen to them.

From a different perspective, motivational speaker and creator of the 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins, says that procrastination is a form of stress relief. It has nothing to do with laziness, lack of work ethic, or your ability to be productive, and everything to do with the stresses in your life. 

She goes on to say that the reason you keep blowing off work in order to binge on cat videos is because cat videos relieve your brain of stress in the moment, making your brain feel like the overall stress in your life is gone. 

So while both of those perspectives are different, they’re also the same. If you find yourself wanting to procrastinate, it’s due to a feeling you are experiencing in your body that you don’t like and want to avoid. 

So, how do you overcome procrastination?

Well, next time you get to a task and feel the lure of procrastination you need to be present, aware and willing to explore your feelings. Ask yourself:

What am I feeling?

Why am I feeling this way? How can I change this feeling to one that is going to motivate me to take action on this task?

I know that sounds a bit touchy feely, but the other option is to use will-power to overcome your inner objections and push through to do the work. However there are two problems with this.  

Problem number 1 – you only have so much willpower to get you through your day.

If you go through your work-day continually using your willpower to help you take action, then by the end of the day you’re not going to have any left for other things such as going to the gym, cleaning the kitchen after dinner, not drinking during the week, or only taking a small serve of dessert. 

Using sheer willpower to get things done is tiring and not sustainable.

Problem number 2 – You’re not teaching yourself anything new.

If you use willpower to overcome your objections and get the work done then you are not training yourself to be aware of and open to your thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

I’ll bet you that if you pay attention to the feelings that come up each time you feel the urge to procrastinate, you will find that they are the same, or very similar each time. 

If you challenge yourself to get to the bottom of these thoughts and feelings and work through them each time they come up, then over time, the intensity of these thoughts and feelings will decrease because you’ve become familiar with them and they don’t feel so big and scary anymore. 

You’ll get to the point where you think “oh I’m feeling a bit anxious about this” and just get on with the task.

Categories: Productivity