Why do I procrastinate?
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with you. Procrastination is NORMAL. Completely and totally normal. EVERYONE procrastinates. However, if it’s interfering with your work or your goals, it’s time to work on it. Today, we're going to do just that.
Let's talk about why you're procrastinating. And then we'll dive into what you can do about it.
First, why you procrastinate. Simply put, your brain is interpreting the thing you're procrastinating on in one of three ways:
It's too hard.
It isn't fun.
Or it'll require too much effort.
Your lower brain's job is to get you to seek out things that are enjoyable and exert as little effort as possible, which is why scrolling Instagram ALWAYS seems more preferable to work. Thankfully, there are ways to override this!
1. Plan realistically. When you plan in a way that takes big tasks seem doable, your brain gets on board. Learning how to tip the scale from "too hard" to "manageable" is 90% of overcoming procrastination. You'll know you've done this when you look at your calendar, see the task, and feel very little resistance to getting started on that task. Part B of planning realistically is planning no more than 3 tasks per day. Yes, you read that right. There are days when I only plan 1 thing. Plan less, and watch how much more you'll get done.
2. Use brain tools to navigate out of procrastination to solve for the other 10% of procrastination that planning well can't solve for. You'll do this using two steps: understand why exactly you want to procrastinate in the first place and solve for it, in the moment.
Let's walk through an example:
You have something on your calendar. You noticing yourself saying, "I'll just do it later," or "I don't feel like it right now," or "I don't want to." Catching those thoughts in the moment IS the first step. Realizing they're optional and recognizing that if you listen to those thoughts, you'll end up having to work later than you want to or you'll be butting up against a deadline and putting out rushed work. From that point, you're going to want to create a new, believable thought on purpose instead of listening to your default dialogue. I find curiosity to be SO helpful in these situations.
My thought process is typically something like, How can I make this easier or more fun? What if I just let myself do the crappiest job possible? I'll just get down what I think the best answer is - I can always go back and edit. The hardest part is just getting something down, once I do that, I know it gets easier.
3. Finally, the last step in overcoming procrastination is knowing how to tell when you need to change course with your plan in order to hit your goal or work deadline. This first typically looks like reassessing the work load (or goal) you've currently taken on and comparing it to what you're available for, emotionally, energy-wise, and time-commitment wise. From there, you'll want to delegate and eliminate ruthlessly. Staying open to ALL of the possibilities is a really helpful way to let yourself get all the options on the table. You'll really want to limit yourself here - this requires your brain to stretch.
The next step is to reassess and ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing. SO often the things we procrastinate on aren't things we actually want to be doing, but we've decided to do them because someone else expects us to, or because we think it's the right thing to do.
This is where developing self-trust is HUGE. Trusting that you can say no and trusting that your way (and your desires) ARE the right way.
This is the work I do with my clients. ANYONE can learn how to navigate out of procrastination. If everything you've tried before hasn’t worked, schedule a free consult to learn exactly why & how to solve for it. You can do that right here.