Michele Attias Life Coach

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Crush Procrastination In 7 Potent Steps

There’s a popular word used consistently during the month of January. It’s used by those who can’t get their motivation into gear. Those who shift their feet along like a lamb led to slaughter. 

This word has become a free one way ticket to sitting back and waiting until action magically kicks in, however long this might take.

I would say that the word ‘Procrastination’ has become the most used word in the dictionary.

A few weeks ago, one of my coaching clients commented that the reason she was procrastinating might be ‘because it’s January’. So now the first month of the year must be to blame for the never ending excuses that plague her life daily.

Leaving the month of the year to one side, what is making those I speak to so unproductive at the moment?

Does procrastination exist in war torn or third world countries? Their very survival depends on jumping out of bed in the morning to search for food and be the first ones to queue up by the river to scoop out water for their families to drink. They are made from the same fibre as we are, yet they have not been touched by the plague that has infested westernised culture in this day and age.

During the first and second world war, I don’t imagine procrastination and lack of productivity existed. The word was none existent then. There was a job to be done and it was done quickly and as a matter of urgency. There was no time to ponder, reflect, decide whether you have enough self esteem to launch a missile or self motivation to attack. The job had to be done, and there was no time to think.

Procrastination doesn’t rear it’s ugly head when life is in danger, there’s a fire, hijack or bomb threat, you do what needs to be done, Pronto.

This was something that resonated with me when recalling years of single parenting whilst studying, working and being available for my family. I don’t remember ever feeling a sense of procrastination or hesitating due to issues over confidence or self belief. The job had to be done and there was no time to think.

I believe it’s not procrastination that the problem, it’s your thinking about what you’re about to embark on that’s the problem. Coupled with copious amounts of time to think and re-think.

Huge difference.

I was recently coaching a client who was embarking on a new venture. He had hesitated for months. I could see how he really wanted to do it but just couldn’t get started. He called this symptom ‘procrastination’. We explored what was getting in the way of him starting. The element that was stopping him was his fear of what could go wrong 5 stages down the line. 

He hadn’t even taken the first step to get the business licence and yet he was overwhelmed with thoughts of failure, fear and risks.

It didn’t surprise me that this was what was grounding him to a halt. I asked him to focus on one step, only the first step to get started. 

This had a monumental shift, in an instant he went from overwhelmed to hopeful and excited.

Somehow like driving on the motorway in the dark. You can only see as far as the distance your lights are pointing to, no further. You can’t see the entire journey simply because it would be overwhelming and impossible to focus on driving the journey moment to moment.

When I coach clients, it’s clear they’re trying to do too many things at once. They want to create a business, a partner, be happy, be successful and for good measure, they want to do it stress free. It’s like trying to climb 5 mountains at once.

Here are 7 simple, but potent ways to crush your procrastination:

Make a list of all the tasks or actions you’re procrastinating about. 

Ask yourself with every one of the items on your list; Is this really what I want to do? If your language includes ‘have to, should, must, need to’, then rethink this. Don’t allow the action to take up any more mind space. Let it go and review it in 3 months time. This will allow more space for what you really want to achieve.

Write down what you choose to take action on. 

As you view your list of actions, take a highlighter pen and highlight those tasks or actions you choose to do this week. Notice my language doesn’t include ‘have to’, but ‘choose to’.

Cut down the actions into manageable chunks. 

Making the action manageable by cutting it down into a step by step can relieve the overwhelm. For example, If you want to create a business and are procrastinating in doing so, start listing from 1–10 what you need to accomplish in the correct order. Firstly decide your business industry, assess your finances, write a basic business plan and so on. This allows you to take a step by step action and you can tick off each one as you do it.

Look back at your most recent successes. 

This is evidence that you can do what you’re about to embark on, and it’s especially good for those days when you’re lack of self belief or fear kick in. I created a ‘proof of me’ document where I wrote down every client I had ever worked with. I noted how they were before coaching, what our work entailed and how they had changed as a result of our work together. This was a great energy boost at the time when I needed it, and provided hard core evidence. Sometimes this is all you need to get moving.

Get an accountability partner. 

My clients text me as soon as they’ve done what they committed to do during the week. We decide a date it has to be complete and it’s done; it’s incredible how quickly the procrastination goes away magically when you know you need to get that done by a certain date and be accountable to another person. You don’t want to let them down, so the task gets done.

Join a Mastermind Group. 

Meet regularly with a small group of like minded people to report back what you have achieved that week. This keeps you focused and on purpose. I joined a mastermind group of women a few months ago to meet weekly. Not only has this been a great place to share our ups and downs, but we also reward ourselves with a monthly meet up brunch to celebrate what we’ve achieved.

Motion in your body translates to action.

If you want to kickstart any project, in my experience an excersize routine will get your body moving out of a hopeless place. This gets your blood flowing and energy pumping. Whether it’s a dynamic excersize routine, or power walking round the block, this can do wonders.

In the majority of cases, procrastinating is not a sign of any serious issue or problem, it’s a habit we all give in to at some point. It’s only when it filters through into other areas of your life and affect other people around you that it becomes a more serious issue. In my experience most of the procrastination is due to fear, overwhelm, lack of clarity and not being committed enough to what you want to achieve.

 

Categories
Coaching
Lifestyle
Self Development
Tags
Lifestyle Coaching; business coaching; personal development; personal growth;