Top 5 reasons we procrastinate – and how to stop!

We aren’t sure how to do something

If we feel we don’t understand how to do something that seems time consuming or new to us, we often put it off – thinking that we’ll figure it out later. However people often don’t put a plan in place as to how that’s going to happen. If you need to spend some time researching or asking for assistance, block out a time in your calendar to allow for that to happen. Also, importantly, schedule a time following that to do the actual task. Once you have the knowledge and time you’ll feel enabled and get the job done.

We don’t know how to begin

Sometimes we feel we can do something but we just don’t know quite how or where to start. However it doesn’t have to be that linear. There’s usually some part of the task that we are already familiar with. Look at the different elements in the task and see if there’s a part you feel confident about – this might be pulling all the data together for a presentation for example. You can then work your way round to the ‘start’ – maybe the introduction to your presentation. Once you have the majority of the task done, you’ll feel motivated to tackle the part you weren’t sure about to begin with.

The whole thing just seems too big

Big projects can feel overwhelming. The secret is to break it down into sections and put a timeframe on each section. Then further break each section down into manageable chunks of no more that 3-6 hours each. Next plan the order in which you’ll be tackling them, ensuring you’ll have any background info/tools you’ll need by the time you tackle each section. Give yourself milestone markers along the way, so that you can see the progression. That way you’ll feel a sense of achievement at each marker and you’ll be able to work productively to complete the project.

A fear of failure

The idea that you should be able to achieve something, you know you can probably do it… but what if it’s not good enough? What if you feel stupid or frustrated with yourself that it isn’t perfect? Feeling like we we might not do something brilliantly or might get knocked back is a key reason people put off some of the projects which have the potential to truly propel them forward. Have the confidence to give it a go and the adaptability to change if not everything goes to plan – and learn along the way. It’s true that not everything goes perfectly the first time but as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, it’s the ability to get back up, adapt and keep going that leads to success.

Identifying purpose

Understanding the true purpose of a task – for us personally – is often the key to feeling motivated to get it done. Most of the time we think about doing things because should. ‘Shoulds’ and ‘ought to’s’ are negative motivators. They rely on a sense of duty, guilt or even shame to get things done. Instead we need to find a positive purpose, that’s there for us. There’s no joy in feeling that we ‘really should’ redecorate that dripping, ageing, somewhat embarrassing bathroom. However the idea of creating a sparkling spa space that will become our retreat from the world? That’s a different story. Give yourself some extra inspiration and identify what you are really going to get out of something. Even the thought of having a clear mind and being able to enjoy the weekend might do it. Just make sure, you do it for YOU.

Stopping procrastinating and getting motivated seems simple in black and white. It can feel a real challenge though to shift your mindset all by yourself. Especially if you’ve been feeling quite ‘stuck’ recently. Coaching can work wonders in terms of gaining perspective, overcoming blocks getting things moving again. You have to be ready and want to make the change, but once you are, with a little help you’ll have a strategy to go forward with and feeling good.Time to push through and put things into action!

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