Don’t put it off any longer


Procrastination – why do we put so much energy in to it!

I have yet to meet anyone in my personal life or amongst professional coaching clients that is not a polished procrastinator in some field or other.

Whether it’s a difficult conversation with an employee or colleague, tackling those expenses or simply clearing the paperwork on your desk, procrastination seems to get in the way. As a coach, when working with someone who is feeling frustrated or stuck, procrastination is often one of the behaviours that are getting in the way.

So why do we procrastinate?

This is not an easy question to answer.  We mostly know that if we just did it – got on with it and moved on to the next task, we would rid ourselves of the internal self talk that beats us up for not doing it. We know that we waste time and head space on finding other things to do rather than the one we don’t want to.  Often, when challenged, we actually have no reason for not doing it. The not doing it, or not liking doing it has actually become a habit.

Can you break the habit?

Procrastination is actually a habit.  Something you adopt and it becomes second nature. Until you become aware of it and realise it’s not so useful and is holding you back. Like any habit, we need to change the thought process and challenge those beliefs. If you find yourself spending time ordering files on your computer or surfing the internet for information you could probably do without, in order to avoid the task you don’t like, then challenge yourself to do it. Make a rule if that helps, that you will do your expenses / call that person/face up to that difficult job at a designated time every day or week.  This, after a period of time will become the new habit.  Prepare yourself for a few slips, where you convince yourself you don’t have to do it, forgive yourself and get back on track!

Work out why you procrastinate

A coach can help identify why you are putting so much effort into avoiding this task.  Often it is due to entrenched beliefs that you have or have developed.  Careful questioning will allow you to explore this and find out there is actually little reason to avoid the task.  An example of this is speaking to colleagues or staff if there is criticism to be made.  Few people enjoy confrontation, and many have bad memories from earlier in their lives – maybe they developed a dislike because something happened, or maybe it’s as simple as their inheriting a dislike of confrontation from their parents.  Once explored and identified, it is much easier to shift the beliefs and start “just do”ing it.  It can take some practice, but after a while, you will look back and wonder why you allowed the procrastination to go on for so long!

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