Does that make you feel a bit better?
Knowing it’s not just you?
That even Elon Musk, Oprah, and Richard Branson dither about now and again?
It made me feel better than I finally realised this … and my clients experience great relief when I share this simple truth with them too because it takes the pressure off!
We cannot be ‘on task’ 100% of the time. No one has perfect focus to enable that.
However it’s not the act of procrastination thats the problem – some of the best creativity and problem solving can come from avoiding the to-do list. The issue is WHY you are procrastinating.
Uncovering the reason or reasons behind your avoidance of some tasks is the most important thing to elicit from the situation, and it will allow you to take steps to begin moving forward and become productive once again.
There are 3 main reasons people procrastinate: fear of failure, fear of success, and perfection obsession.
A fear of failure makes you procrastinate because you believe that despite putting in tons of effort, it will come to nothing. This stresses you out and makes you anxious, so you avoid getting started. So, when it does fail you can feel better about it because you expected it to happen because you didn’t put in enough effort or lacked the skills and time to complete it successfully.
To discover if you have a fear of failure behind your procrastination, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Do you always think a task or activity will go wrong? And imagine all the ways it will go tits up?
- Do you think your support network will judge you negatively if you failed?
- Do you believe its not worth the effort or even starting on a task because you know its going to fail anyway? Even if you try your very best?
Fear of success is another reason you could be dragging your heels instead of getting the work done. You are afraid that if you succeed, the people around you will accept no less than top-level success in the future and you are worried that you will not always be able to meet those massive expectations. So, instead of jetting off to excellence you keep yourself well and truly within the limits of your comfort zone, denying your true potential from shining through.
If you think you may have a fear of success keeping you procrastinating, ask yourself these questions?
- When you think about the success waiting for you upon completion of the task, do you feel overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities and high expectations waiting for you? Especially from other people?
- Do you worry that you will be more visible to the world if you succeed? That people will ‘see you’, the real you? Warts ’n’all?
Perfection obsession is something a lot of people struggle with – including me. Even people who do not feel they are perfectionists find they will only accept A* or crazily impossible standards for some tasks. This leads to feelings of overwhelm, which leads to procrastination, and sometimes you don’t even start the task(s) you want and/or need to get done.
Is perfection obsession making you procrastinate? Ask yourself these questions to find out.
- Do you believe the only way to do something is to do it without making any mistakes? That the only way is perfect?
- When things do start to go a little off track, do you find yourself threatening to or actually throwing in the towel
- Does it make sense to you to not do something because you know you will not do it justice? That your efforts will not be enough to make it fantastic?
So, which reasons are keeping you anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed? Which reasons are behind your procrastination on that task you have been putting off all week?
If you do not take steps to uncover and then combat your procrastination reasons, YOU WILL NOT GET ANYTHING DONE. Well, anything of any importance. However, you might work your way through everything Netflix has to offer, or reach the final level of Candy Crush. But you won’t enjoy those things because you can’t relax when things are hanging over your head, especially that weighty to-do list of life-changing tasks leading to you Living the Life you Love.