I have noticed a theme over the past couple of weeks. It has shown up in coaching calls with clients. I have also seen this in myself.
The prevailing emotion around this seems to be frustration with a bit of worry (maybe this is just the way I am…).
What is the theme? Not completing tasks & projects.
Yes, it seems that many of us will begin the [fill-in-the-blank] and then we tend to drift away. This looks like not having time to work on it which is my excuse wrapped up as a reason. After a couple of weeks of putting it on my priority list I don’t get to it and then “out of sight out of mind”, except – not really.
In my clients I hear – “I am going to do that today” and “I will do it after…”
This challenge is real & I don’t think that I am alone in the forest of many ideas with a habit of lagging implementation.
What to do…
- First, acknowledge that this is our habit (awareness is the first step to change).
- When I notice a specific task, project, or goal that I have been procrastinating on I ask myself…
- What is the gain I will enjoy upon completion of this?
- What is it costing me to not complete it?
Occasionally, after answering these questions I realize the goal/task/project can be set aside or removed from my plan.
- When the answer to the questions confirms the value & relevance to my success, I make the decision to interrupt my pattern of procrastination. I don’t allow myself to spend much time on this step. I am naturally a planner, so it is easy to spend time here analyzing which becomes a different form of procrastination! My two questions –
- Who can help me? Sometimes my procrastination is a lack of skill in this area and asking for help gets me moving.
- What is the next small step I am willing to commit to doing? This strategy works well when the item feels big and/or complex. I recently used this approach when switching to a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM). I decided to begin by setting up my calendar and appointment system. This felt doable and it was. I paused to celebrate my success and then chose the next small step.
These strategies have proved effective for me to interrupt procrastination.
My next step is to shift to a more proactive strategy – preventing procrastination! I will share what I am doing now to stop procrastination (most of it anyway).