Overcome procrastination

And get moving!

I don’t procrastinate over many things but when I do it’s exhausting. Most of my blogs, including this one, take around two weeks to complete. I spend so much time trying to work out the right topic, writing a little bit, getting distracted or finding a reason to stop, then rewriting what I’ve already written over and over. And when I’m not working on it I’m thinking about it.

Procrastination is a little like starting your car in the driveway and not going anywhere. The engine is running, you’re using petrol and putting unnecessary strain on your engine but not actually accomplishing anything!

It’s probably one of the most frustrating things I experience! Knowing I procrastinate when writing my blogs I attempt to create the right conditions to remain focused. Take this week, for example, on Sunday morning I boarded a flight to Perth – four hours of offline time by myself to write. A well thought through, almost airtight plan…until…I struck up a conversation with my neighbour, that lasted for almost the entire journey!! My avoidance strategy was so finely tuned that I even shared with my neighbour that I was procrastinating on writing a blog about procrastination to keep the conversation going to avoid writing the blog! If there were procrastination competition, surely my effort, in this instance, was worthy of a gold place!

Overall I enjoyed the flight and even though I didn’t finish my blog, my neighbour, Brendan Rigby, owner of Inspire Fitness for Wellbeing kindly agreed to help me with his thoughts on procrastination. Here’s what he had to share. Procrastinating impacts your business, “you’re delaying your outcome”, he says. You could take action to improve your business right now or you could delay it which means you also delay the benefits those improvements would deliver.

Brendan is also well aware of the impact procrastination has as a leader…

  • What is it teaching the team?
  • What are you modelling for future leaders?
  • Are you asking your team to be doing something you’re not?
  • Are you compromising your integrity and weakening your leadership and ability to influence?
  • What impact is it having on the momentum of your team?

Procrastination is easy enough to identify and even when we understand the impacts, we struggle to push through it and move into action. Brendan’s advice on moving forward:

  • Take immediate action – when you have an idea, take action. Putting it off loses momentum and makes the task bigger than it actually is and the perceived difficulty increases.
  • When you recognise you’re procrastinating – pivot! Consciously decide whether you’re going to do it now or continue to procrastinate.
  • And, ask yourself if it’s still a priority or the right decision/course of action in the first place. If not, forget about it and move on.

I’d love to add one thing to this great advice and that is…when you’re procrastinating because the task is high in effort, remind yourself why you’re doing it and then allocate uninterrupted time to get it done. And preferably allocate this time in the morning when you’ve got the most energy.

For me, writing blogs is a great opportunity to research different topics in the leadership space and gain new insights and perspectives. It also allows me to provide value to my network in the hope they will learn and grow. It’s this reminder that puts me back in the driver’s seat and gets the car out of the driveway!

Need help with this one? Give me a call! Or better still, give Brendan a call!!

 

Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating efficient and sustainable team environments through adaptable leadership. She is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Mentor and Speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.

Comments 2

  1. Well written Shelly. I have a serious procrastinating issue at present that I have put off for months. I still have until mid December to complete what I am procrastinating on but it is that initial first step I need to look at taking. I hope I can and I will certainly attempt tonight. Once again thanks for your blogs.

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