If you are reading this you might be like many of us who suffer from procrastination. But don’t stop there – this is just the tip of the iceberg, the symptom of something bigger underneath. Pay attention and address the root cause.
In my case, I procrastinate for different reasons. For example, when the task:
- Needs deep attention (e.g. creative thinking)
- It is hard – something I am not naturally good at (e.g. accounting).
- Is boring (organizing, paperwork, chores)
My strategy depends on the reason for the procrastination. For the high energy demanding creative work, I try to schedule them when my brain and body are in its best-performing state, in my case it is after breakfast. For tasks that are just hard work for me, I try to break it in much smaller doable tasks so I can take one bite at a time. Positive psychology expert Shawn Achor said, making it easier to do have a much better chance of getting done. Regarding the third category, the boring tasks – sometimes those are necessary to create the environment for me to do my most exciting work. So if those little things help clear my mind and are more productive, then let it be! I Suffer … for Fifteen Minutes.
Now there is another category I haven’t mentioned yet. Despite all those strategies if the task is not attracting me, I analyze it further, to understand what the piece that is blocking me. Some possible reasons are:
- Not seeing the real value of doing it
- There is some fear underlying
I am so amazed how this little awareness can open the door of possibilities as it did for my client Tom. When he first came, he described him as “the master procrastinator”. After a few coaching sessions, he finally figured out that he had a fear of failure and that prohibited him from finishing tasks on time. The excuse he had been using was perfectionism (another ally of procrastination)! This realization helped him to finally accomplish his long-cherished dream – today, Tom, that “master procrastinator” has become an esteemed member of one of the top research labs in the world.
Bottom line: Don’t get too hard on yourself- find the root cause and handle it in a smarter way.