When I talk to my friends and clients and even think about my own life I’ve realized that everyone procrastinates in some way.
This was reinforced further when I was talking through some big projects with a client yesterday and realized how much he was putting off his important work for the day, how much he was distracting himself from taking the bull by the horns and taking some real action.
Now this person has a pretty positive mindset. He’s grown his business and is always looking at new ways to grow further.
When talking through these particular procrastinations with him, I realised that the big reason these bigger projects were being put off was because he didn’t feel he had the capability to achieve his desired result.
He was holding back on increasing his performance and achieving what he really wanted because he was moving outside his comfort zone, both from a mindset and capability perspective.
Our biggest procrastinations are always a way of telling us what the most important things we should do next are. They are very much a personal experience and unique to each of us based on our current mindset.
Procrastination may rear its head, as I’ve mentioned above, based on fear or a sense of lack of capability but it also happens when we compare ourselves to others.
We may feel these other people have their act together way better than we do or are further ahead in their business. This often paralyses us, created stress and overwhelm as we compare ourselves. We then don’t take action as our mindset is telling us “you’re not good enough to achieve that”
Does this resonate with you?
But here’s the thing, procrastination shouldn’t be viewed as a problem. It should be viewed as an opportunity for personal mindset growth and an opportunity to create higher levels of performance and achievement.
If we actually changed our thinking and thought about procrastination as the perfect place to show more courage, increase our capabilities and practice all the most important life skills. Wouldn’t that be beneficial for you?
Our tendency to procrastinate over difficult decisions at work or in our personal lives is exactly how we’ll begin to understand more about ourselves and see how our minds work.
When we breakthrough and achieve a desired result on a project we were procrastinating on it increases our confidence and pushed us forward to higher levels of performance.
Think about the last time you pushed through and achieved something that scared you or you through was outside of your comfort zone.
How did you feel? Did you get a rush of energy? Were you more motivated? Were you more confident to tackle the next big opportunity?
No matter how hard we may try to avoid these difficulties, how we respond to them will determine how we approach some of the biggest opportunities in our future.
Let’s look at how we often respond to some of the hardest things we procrastinate on in our business and life.
How We Often Respond
When we procrastinate, this is the usual process:
1. We know deep down that we Should be doing it
2. We have something difficult or uncomfortable to take action on
3. We don’t feel like doing it, because it’s scary, it feels way outside our comfort zone, is uncertain or uncomfortable
4. Our minds regularly turn away from the task or project, and find a more comfortable, certain thing to do
5. We get easily distracted
6. We stay with the easier things, and constantly stay away from thinking about or taking action on the other thing
7. We compare ourselves to others which paralyses us and stresses us out
8. We feel bad that this happens, and start to form a negative image of ourselves. Self-doubt creeps in which can knock our self-esteem and confidence
This makes us less likely to take on the biggest projects and opportunities next time round, which creates a vicious cycle.
But, all is not lost. We can use procrastination to create more motivation, energy and focus to help take our mindset and performance to a whole new level.
Procrastination is a Huge Opportunity for Growth
So what should we do instead when we are distracted and procrastinating?
1. Observe how you’re actually thinking based on your current mindset
2. Get a real sense of how you’ll feel if you can complete the project you’re procrastinating on
3. Think about that achievement in terms of how it will affect your mindset, capability, motivation, and performance
4. List all of the tasks/projects you’re procrastinating over
5. Select the three biggest projects
6. Write down why you’re procrastinating over the project to get a real sense of why you haven’t tackled it yet
7. Write down the steps you need to take to start and complete the project
8. Write down when you want to complete the project by
If you follow this process every time you are procrastinating over a big project you will always understand what’s holding you back and it will give you the framework to power through and increase your energy, capability and motivation.
But BEWARE, this is not a simple process. If it was you would have already taken on the task.
It will take a courageous mindset and the motivation to follow through but it will be worth it.
Through this practice, we can get better at not running, at staying with the discomfort, at embracing it all, at being patient and joyful in the middle of chaos and the unknown.
If you commit yourself to this practice. You’ll find it life-changing. Your mindset ceiling will increase. Your capabilities will grow and you’ll have an ongoing rush of energy and motivation.