Get in Touch
Thyself. You’ve heard this from
me before. I have a coach. In fact, I have a business coach, a
personal coach and a coach supervisor / mentor. Some people are surprised
by this fact. If I’m a coach, surely I have all the answers, right?
Wrong!! Coaching is not remedial, fixing your problems and sending you on
your way in one perfect piece. Coaching is refining, honing and improving
where you are right now – imperfect and always in development – just like me.
One of the things I love about teaching concepts and ideas
in the online programmes that I create is that I get to learn and experiment
alongside my clients. This means that I find new ways of overcoming
barriers myself and this is precisely what has happened in the last couple of
What I’m learning about procrastination
In my new membership programme, “Flourish”, we have been
exploring the common barrier to creating a career you love:
“procrastination”. I believe that we can all procrastinate at
times. You may not be a professional procrastinator (and, believe me,
I’ve met a few) but I bet that there are certain tasks or actions that lead you
to procrastinate despite your best intentions. You are in good company.
The first step in addressing your procrastination is to
identify what makes you procrastinate. For me, it’s
generally three things:
The next step is to identify what you do when you’re
procrastinating. This is an important step because you really need to
catch yourself in procrastination rather than be in denial about it. I
call these your “triggers”. A common one these days is picking up your
phone and scrolling through your latest favourite app. When I’m working
from home, I often find myself gazing into the fridge even when I’m not
hungry. There’s the “rabbit hole” – why am I reading Wikipedia when I
should be doing tasks that are actually on my ‘To Do’ list? And then
there’s the tasks that stay on my ‘To Do’ list for a loooong time, being moved
from one day to the next with insouciance.
You then need to look at the more deeply rooted reasons why you procrastinate. For me, these reasons have been (and are) not having clear
enough goals, not being connected to my future self and sensation
seeking. Other reasons could be overwhelm and anxiety, perfectionism,
fear of criticism, fear of failure, lack of motivation, the list goes on.
That’s an awful lot of being honest with yourself! But
it does make you realise why procrastination can be difficult to tackle.
The final step is to find ways to overcome your
procrastination. Let me tell you that this is an ongoing challenge for
all of us because our “whats, hows and whys” of procrastinating are deep-rooted
habits. This is why, like me, you can be a coach, know all the theory,
have tackled your procrastination in the past and still slip back into
it as easily as falling off the proverbial log (*procrastination alert: see below).
What I’m experimenting with
Each of us in the Flourish group took away at least one idea
for overcoming our procrastination to try out and report back. I have
been trying a few things.
Firstly, I’ve been using the technique of giving my projects
a start date instead of a completion date to overcome the “deadline-oriented”
procrastination. This is proving useful, but I need to overhaul my
project management tool in order to really achieve this one. That
overhaul task needs to go into my project management tool.
The shiny object is also a long-standing work in progress
(see *). I’m experimenting with creating bookmarks online and a separate
email folder for things that have piqued my interest and I want to dive
into. I’m then planning to create a space in my calendar – one hour per
week – when I can dive headfirst into those rabbit holes and have a foray in
BUT, the real revelation for me has been tackling big and
boring tasks in small bursts. I have been trying this technique with two
outstanding projects that I never seem to start: creating a new narrative for
my website (task too big) and dealing with the backlog of reconciliations in my
accounting software (task too boring).
Each day I have worked on each of these tasks for just 15
minutes and a few things have happened:
What you can do
Well, if you have a big or boring project languishing,
definitely try the short bursts experiment. Apparently you can also
achieve a lot in 5-minute bursts too.
Alongside that, have a think about the last time you
procrastinated. Ask yourself:
As ever, please do let me know what you’ve experimented with
and how it’s working for you.
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