Get On With It!
Are you a procrastinator? One in five people procrastinate so much that it jeopardises their work, finances and relationships. Whether it’s a scroll through social media, an impromptu cleaning session or a bizarre DIY task that has to be completed now; most of us procrastinate at one point or another. Procrastination is where we put off the task that we plan to do and replace it with an activity that is less important or urgent.
Procrastination is particularly prevalent with students; 95% of students say they have a problem with procrastinating. However, 40% of people claim to experience financial loss because of their procrastination. Furthermore, 18% of people claim that procrastination has an extremely negative effect on their happiness.
So, why do we procrastinate and what can we do to stop it?
Procrastination And Self Sabotage
Whether it’s a new project, starting your own business or perhaps taking the next step in your career, you expect to feel a sense of determination and drive to reach your goals. However, very often, this determination is the last thing we experience.
Instead, we step on the brakes and occupy ourselves with ‘busy-work’ rather than doing the one important thing that we want to achieve. This is self-sabotage. Instead of your goal being a game-changer for your life, you actively avoid it.
Even though it is something we want, we fight it and consequently sabotage ourselves.
Why Do We Self Sabotage?
Despite sounding completely illogical, self-sabotage is rife. There are several reasons why we self-sabotage, which one do you identify with?
1. Low Self Worth
If you have low self-worth, you often work hard and set high expectations to make up for that fact you feel inadequate. However, your brain like to be consistent in making sure that your actions line up with your beliefs about yourself (this is called cognitive dissonance). So when you start to achieve success, yet still don’t believe you are worthy of your achievements, your brain wants to address the balance.
For people with low self-worth, procrastination can help you to stick to your beliefs about yourself by reducing your results and achievements. Even though you are scared about failing, you can often feel worse if you succeed and start to contradict your own beliefs.
2. The Imposter Syndrome
Another common reason people procrastinate to the point of self-sabotage is the feeling of being an imposter. For example, if you take on a new promotion, you may feel you are not worthy of the role, and perhaps you’ll have further to fall when you are ‘found out’.
The imposter syndrome comes into play every time there is a chance you will be ‘found out’ such as delivering a presentation as a subject matter expert. It becomes much more tempting to procrastinate or do something else rather than complete or prepare for a task where you feel like a fraud.
3. Take The Blame Away From Ourselves
For many of us, it is hard to accept that we may be to blame or that something is our fault. It is often much easier to blame the action, not ourselves. For example, in an exam, pre-empting a fail by saying ‘I didn’t bother to revise’ puts the onus on the lack of revision, not the fact that you have a deeper belief. Perhaps the deeper belief is that you’re not smart enough to pass, or maybe that you don’t deserve to have the success.
So Why Do We Procrastinate?
While all of these reasons look like they boil down to a fear of success; they are actually a fear of failing. It can be frightening to really try and put your all into something, only for it not to succeed in the way you want. The fear may come from being humiliated at work or perhaps let down in a relationship or ultimately having a fear of your own worth.
How To Get On With It
Conquer The Fear Of Failing
It is human nature to fear failure. However, you can use it to your advantage. Start by changing the structure of your goals. For example, if you said; “I want to get that promotion” you will feel like you are failing if you don’t get the promotion. Instead, frame your goal as; “I want to learn how to get that promotion”.
By changing your goals to learning, you cannot fail. Despite the outcome potentially not being what you wanted, you are likely to have learned something new and valuable that will help you to achieve the success you wish for in future.
What Does Failure Mean To You?
Regardless of the facts of the situation, we all identify with a personal failure. We so often tell ourselves a story about why we failed which has no relevance to the facts. Failure is often fulfilling a prophecy. For example, if someone close to you says; “You’ll never be a success”. This can stick with you and cloud your judgement for every perceived setback or failure you have.
Work out where your story of failure comes from and then realise that it is just a story that you are telling yourself. It has nothing to do with the facts of the situation.
Have A Productive Frame Of Mind
If you notice you are putting something off; go outside. Nature and exercise have found to increase productivity by 20%. A walk in the park may seem counter-productive, but when you are staring at your work instead of doing it, then a walk can help to re-energise you and set you up in a more positive and productive frame of mind.
Put a block on websites, lock away your phone and clear your workspace. When you want to procrastinate, you’ll focus on the distractions. By removing the distractions, you’ll have the right mindset to focus, and there will be nothing to distract you.
Be Kind To Yourself
If you pile a to-do list with an unachievable number of things to do, then you’ll always feel like you have let yourself down and failed if you don’t tick everything off the list. Instead, prioritise just one thing to do each day.
Tim Ferriss, a lifestyle experimenter, who believes you can have a four-hour work week recommends asking yourself; “If this was the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?” If the answer is no, then it isn’t your priority and shouldn’t be on your list.
Don’t Let Fear Get In Your Way
If fear is holding you back or procrastination is a detriment to your life, I can help. With my unique blend of therapy, we can work out what is holding you back and how you can move forward with your life to achieve your goals. Find out more with your free 15-minute consultation with me. Call 0207 971 7677 to arrange your appointment.
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