Procrastination is something we often do in our daily lives “I’ll mow the lawn tomorrow”, but it’s something we rarely admit to in our professional lives. This month’s blog by Francesca Garola from HappyBalancedLife looks at how we can combat procrastination as #eventprofs.
What is procrastination?
If we put aside its classic definition of “putting off or delaying something that requires immediate attention”, procrastination can, in many circumstances, be defined as nothing less than “self sabotaging”.
How many times a day do you tell yourself “I’ll do this later!” and this later never comes?
How many times have you felt stuck, looping and wondering why things are not changing?
Let me share something with you… the first time I heard about this, I was totally blown away!
We have 6 core needs (more on this topic on another post!) that drive our human behaviours.
The most common driver is certainty. Over 70% of us are in constant search of certainty, whether it is through rigid routines, addictions, need to be right, perfectionism (this is a big one for lots of us !!), need of control, etc. I could go on and on…
The need for certainty is our ego trying to keep us safe, to protect us, to defend the comfort zone and the territory we are familiar with.
The truth is though, that certainty is the greatest illusion we have ever created! And yet we live for it, we fight for it, we cry for it and we spend so much time and energy protecting it.
Procrastination comes in to “save” us and to keep us stuck in the same old comfort zone so that we do not try to cross the road of the unknown. It becomes the perfect unresourceful way of meeting our need for certainty.
On the other side of the road though, is growth.
Growth lies at the edge of our comfort zone, we expand by embracing life, by deciding to experience our magnificence.
I’m going to give you a very simple example: New Year’s Day and its resolutions! This is something 95% of us did at some point in our lives.
You really want change and what better time than the first day of the year? You really want to start exercising so, you sign up for the gym, you buy all the gear you need because this time you are really motivated; three times a week, I’m all in! Motivation is at its high on the first month, you are tired but you keep going; I’m so busy this week, I’ll only go twice; oh I’m so tired I really need some time off; I’ll go only once this week…
And so, we go on and listen to our ego convincing us that stepping out of our comfort zone and embracing the unknown is too challenging and it’s so much better when we do what we already know.
Here procrastination comes back into our lives, keeping us safe.
But the problem is never the problem. Behind procrastination lies the way of calming the uncertainty of life, and that need of certainty also keeps us safe from all the things that our inner child has put into the avoidance drawer.
How can we overcome procrastination? These are some simple baby steps – please know that behind these steps lie a whole world of reasons why we choose to do what we do and why we believe we cannot do the things we really want to do. The self-development journey towards a happy balanced life is ever evolving and each step will lead to the next and each step will reveal something that will hopefully create some “Aha” moments moving towards an ever better version of yourself.
- Back yourself into the space of uncertainty
We want balance between certainty and uncertainty. To better explain this: making sure we find time for a hobby we love every day will give us the certainty we need. Opening the doors to variety will balance the need for certainty, increase and welcome adventure into your life. If you love reading, make sure you give yourself the certainty of a good read every day, just for you and only you. This certainty will give you the power to try something new because you know that your reading is there for you and will be there also after you have tried something new.
- Start where you are (but start!!)
Waiting for the perfect moment to start doing something is just another way of saying to life “I will do that when X happens” and therefore telling yourself that you’re not going to do something unless that other specific thing happens. Truth is… if you do not do the work, nobody is going to do it for you! Start accepting where you are, work with the tools you have, trust that you have your back and please remember to have some fun along the way.
- Set micro goals
Setting big short-term goals will only increase your procrastinating habit – remember, we are creatures of habit and our ego loves the same old, same old. Micro goals will help you achieve them. For example, a to do list with 25 things will not motivate you to get going. Prioritise and do one thing after the other. When you are onto one thing, do not go over and see if there is anything more interesting or more fun or more urgent you can do instead. There will always be. Stick. To. Your. Micro. Goal.
- Hold yourself accountable
Have someone who can hold you accountable and who can check on how you’re doing. We love being solitary and thinking we can do everything on our own, we don’t need any help and we can handle it. Breathe, it’s awesome to ask for help and to have someone to share your victories with!
What’s your trigger? What’s your procrastinating strategy? How much pain does that give you? How much pleasure?
In light and love,