The three styles of Procrastination Paralysis are
The reality is we are all vulnerable to all 3 styles of procrastination. Generally, we will have a dominant style and the other two will be more peripheral. The relationship between them will vary from individual to individual.
You will notice the interconnecting arrows. It is as if you start procrastinating on something and it morphs into a greater and more complex level of procrastination.
After you have studied the three styles of procrastination and a short description of the characteristics of that style, create your own model and identify the things in each style that trigger you. I have given you a short list for each. Feel free to draw from this list or to add triggers you recognize that are personal to you.
Once you have done this use the examples of the interconnecting arrows to create your own connections. In the process of doing this you will start to recognize what triggers procrastination in you and how that compounds to create additional triggers.
Parkinson’s Law says that activities will fill the allotted time frame no matter how large or small it is. Therefore, if you have one project to complete today and it is realistically a three-hour project but you have an 8-hour workday available you will
• Use the full eight hours with continuous tweaks trying to insure perfection
• Spend 5 hours on FB, computer games or at the water cooler…and then scramble to get it done in the last 3 hours.
• Bounce around checking out anything that looks interesting before tackling the project 3 hours before the deadline
• Schedule 3 hours at the beginning of the day to complete the project.
• Before starting eliminate as many environmental distractions as possible - close the office door, send phone calls to voicemail, minimize the presence of anything that has the power to draw your attention away from the task at hand
• Schedule the remaining 5 hours of your day to work on future projects or even schedule a break for exercise or something else you consciously add to your day. When you have a schedule you diligently follow it keeps you focused and minimizes the temptation to become distracted.
This is the #1 driver of procrastination for most people. Think for a moment of all of the various types of fears that keep us from plunging ahead.
• Fear of failure
• Fear of success
• Fear of embarrassment
• Fear that we don’t know how to do something and won’t be able to figure it out
• Fear of technology (or something else specific)
Everyone deals with fear, but your fears may be unique to you. Mark Twain said “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastery of fear.”
Feeling overwhelmed will lead to discouragement. Negative self-talk convinces us we are not capable so we feel hopeless and discouraged. Any emotion that saps your faith and confidence in yourself will lead to discouragement and consequently to procrastination.
The key to dealing with discouragement is to move from beyond overwhelmed to action in small achievable steps. Whether it is fear, negative self-talk, or something else what they all have in common is a feeling of being overwhelmed and stuck. If we allow these feelings to take hold and run rampant, we spiral down into a black hole of hopelessness and discouragement.
Whether you are fighting to stay out of that hole, or need to find a way to climb out of it, the prescription is the same.
• Choose a single task to focus on. Break it down into bite sized pieces……. even minuscule ones. Focus on that one piece. It must be small enough that by itself it is not overwhelming. It must be small enough for you to recognize that it is doable. Accomplish that. Acknowledge that accomplishment. Piece by piece proceed. Focus on continuity and direction not on speed. As you see yourself accomplishing things and moving forward your self esteem will increase, your confidence will increase until the time when it is greater than your fears or other negative emotions keeping you stuck. Then it will feel natural and exciting to step up your pace.
• You have undoubtedly heard the expression “eat the frog”. This expression originated with Mark Twain. He said if you ate a frog first thing in the morning nothing worse could happen for the remainder of the day. Begin the day with the most intimidating task you have……the one you would always procrastinate on…..because after you had done all this other “stuff” you could “focus” on that. Break the cycle. Even if it is just a minuscule bite. After you swallow the first bite the second bite becomes a bit easier.
• Commitment to being accountable to yourself. Don’t focus on the task that is challenging you. Focus on the fact that you have made a commitment to
yourself to do this. Focus on keeping that commitment and the task will become secondary.
When we think about the principle of deception, we generally think about the deceptive actions of others but this is the time to recognize that we have an almost limitless capacity for self-deception.
Self-deception generally starts with a lack of clarity. IF we are not absolutely clear about who we are, where we are, where we want to go and who we want to become it is really easy to sell ourselves a bill of goods and never recognize what we are doing.
We don’t have a roadmap. Remember Alice and the Cheshire Cat. If you don’t know where you are going it doesn’t matter which road you take. Our destination and our expectations are fuzzy and out of focus.
Clarity gives us a filter to use as we look at options. It brings everything into focus. Is this choice going to lead me where I want to go? With that filter it is easy to move forward towards our goal. Without it we generally bounce back and forth and procrastinate making any real progress. We decide to go right…. then left…. then standing at the crossroads unsure of where to go…. we procrastinate.
It all starts with getting clarity. Know what you want in every area of your life – personal, physical, emotional, spiritual, professional, financial, and relationships. With clarity in each of those areas they become like the strands of a rope which becomes stronger as the strands are twisted together. As an understanding of your unique definition of success in each of these areas are bound together you identify what a successful life looks like for you … not mom and dad, or society, or someone else …but for you. This is clarity.
With clarity you can create a road map reflective of your goals and priorities and be assured you are on the right path.
Then it is simply a matter of starting and holding yourself accountable for the consistency with which you proceed.
Hasn't procrastination cost you too much? Opportunities missed. Dreams delayed. Frustration mounting. Learn how you can change this in 90 days as you go from procrastination to productivity.
There are some universal principles in play here.
• You have the freedom to choose your actions and your attitude. You don’t always get to choose your circumstances, so exercise the power of choice where you have it
• Often, but not always, your circumstances today are the result of your choices yesterday. Your choices today will have a big impact on your circumstances tomorrow.
• Procrastination is a habit …. resulting from many, many choices. To change the habit will require you to change your choices.
• You have the power to do this.
• You are worth it!
• It will take tenacity and commitment …. But those things are within you to choose
How long have you dreamed of what life could look like?
• I will as soon as ….
• I just need to finish this, then I …..
• Once ….. then I …..
Just as a burglar may rob you of your precious possessions, statements like these rob you of precious time. Possessions can be replaced. Time can’t. Procrastination is robbing you of the time to do the things and have the experiences that are precious to you.
Isn’t is time for you to move beyond procrastination to productivity, purpose and passion. When you are ready, ask me how. I can help.