Procrastination: Why put off till tomorrow what you can do next month? by Camilla Watson
Sometimes thought of as laziness or self-sabotage, not doing what we actually know is ‘the right thing’ has several diverse causes. Only when we uncover the emotional cause behind the particular procrastination can take the first step required for change.
Procrastination can affect us in any area of our life and usually we are focused and motivated in some areas but not others. Some common examples of procrastination are: putting off a particular work task, not planning nutrition or other personal care, not making an appointment with a doctor or dentist, or neglecting home maintenance. Any of these can have serious consequences if put off for too long.
There are actually four main reasons for procrastination; understanding which of these is affecting you (or your staff or family) will open the door to positive change.
Understanding the REAL causes of procrastination:
- “I don’t know how.” (lack of knowledge or understanding)
- When we don’t have the ability, skills or knowledge (or perceive we don’t) it is difficult to begin.
- A strategy to manage this challenge is to acquire the knowledge, maybe breaking the task into several manageable pieces and learning as you go.
- “I’m afraid.” (fear, anxiety; of the ‘doing’ OR of the consequences)
- This can be caused by fear of the actual activity itself, fear of the direct consequences, or fear of the possible future consequences.
- Managing fear requires analysis of the REAL risk as compared to the PERCEIVED risk, and a strategy to ensure safety – which may require learning new skills. It is possible we don’t actually ‘know how’ and this is driving our fear. It is also possible our fear is a warning that this really is not a good idea.
- “I’m right.” (sense of entitlement or superiority, maybe to make ‘the other’ wrong)
- This can be linked to the desire to be independent, but sometimes can lead to childish behaviour and not listening to the wisdom of others. It can also be driven by a subconscious desire to be seen as different – to our parents, to the mores of our upbringing, or our peers. Am I trying to prove my parents/peers/society wrong? Can I choose to stop making this about others and instead make a decision to act in my own best interest regardless of what another may think?
- “I don’t want to.” (refusal, irresponsibility)
- As adults we all choose our behaviour; however, being ‘adult’ (ie: responsible and able to look after and provide for ourselves) carries certain responsibilities. Ask yourself the following:
- Where is the resistance coming from?
- Do I really not want to do this, AND am I prepared to accept the consequences?
- Do I need to accept responsibility for my life and my choices and take action, even if the action is difficult or painful?
- How can I motivate myself? Do I respond best with the motivation of a positive ‘carrot’ or a negative ‘stick’?
To start creating a clearer 2023, choose one thing you regularly procrastinate on. Identify it clearly, and decide which of these four causes is the best fit. Commit to a management strategy – including a timeline.
Camilla is a counsellor, behavioural specialist, and Heal Your Life coach. She offers a range of services, in person and via Zoom, including her book ‘The Life You Want – Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Depression’. Find out more at: www.corlight.co.nz
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How do you reconcile that huge vision you have for your business with the amount of time you have each day to make it happen?! This week, Michelle Keating has contributed a short article about how we can manage this dilemma. As you prepare for your meeting, consider sharing with your group how YOU make time to bring your vision to life!
Connecting the dots between business vision and your daily reality By Michelle Keating
We’ve all heard how important it is to have an overall vision and SMART goals for your business, but how do you bring your vision to life while keeping up with the day-to-day running of your business?
I wholeheartedly believe in having a big vision for your business. Something that lights you up and drives your business forward. Without it, it is easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of daily life and it can lead to taking on any client or work that comes your way.
When you are clear on the kind of business you want to create and the kind of people you’d love to serve, you’re better equipped to make decisions that will take you where you want to go.
However, depending on how big you’re dreaming, the distance between your vision and current reality can be huge. It can feel almost impossible to figure out where to start or how to stay motivated as you bring that big vision to life.
The secret to achieving this? Ensuring a large proportion of your time as a business owner is regularly dedicated to making your vision a reality.
It’s not always easy, but it is possible. I started Dreamers Collective from my own frustration of having big dreams but constantly getting caught up in day-to-day activities, only for months to go by without making progress.
What made the difference was realising that the day-to-day work was never going to cease, so I had to find ways to make time for the important things alongside the necessities.
Firstly, make sure your business vision is clear and actionable. I recommend crafting an overall reason or ‘why’ your business exists, alongside a vision for how you would like your business to look in 3 – 5 years’ time.
Next look at the next 12 months and set 3 – 5 goals that will lay the foundations for your future business. Then break those down into smaller, more specific milestones that you can work towards.
Now for the most important part, make sure you make a plan for how you are going to achieve each milestone by breaking them down into projects that you can take action on quarter-by-quarter.
Once your project plans are finalised, it’s important to block out time in your calendar on a regular basis to work on your project actions. Treat this time like you would a meeting with an important client – you can postpone it if things come up, but you can’t cancel it.
Breaking down your vision in this way will give you a solid plan to work towards making it a reality.
Now, like most of the best laid plans, they won’t always go accordingly so ensure you build in ways to measure and monitor your progress and adjust as necessary.
Your business will change and grow as you do, so while executing your projects hold onto your bigger vision and embrace the twists and turns. And remember, progress is better than perfection!
Michelle Keating, founder of Dreamers Collective
Find Dreamers Collective online at www.dreamerscollective.co
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