One of the most surprising effects of procrastination is the fact that it makes you feel out of control.
Procrastination is like an ‘invisible force’ that keeps you from doing the very things you know you must do. With the increasing demands on our time and attention there seems to be an increase in procrastination as a chronic problem, especially among those people who want to succeed the most. Procrastination usually sets in when you feel overwhelmed by all the ‘have to’s’ in life and instead of making steady progress you take on too much without ever getting any of it done. Sound familiar?
I coach a lot of high-performing and high-achieving women who struggle with procrastination. Some of them got this way because they didn’t set up healthy boundaries for themselves; some don’t know how to say “no”; and some are in lean organizations in which they are the only ones who can perform certain tasks.
When the procrastination spiral hits these women, they feel out of control and powerless to shape and direct their own lives. It’s true that there are many things over which we have no control, but we always have full control over what really happens to us – and what really happens to us is a mental process independent of the circumstances and events of the outside world. Being empowered means that we realize that we already have the power and this realization also gives us the ability to take action. Here are five empowering procrastination tips that can help you become empowered to effectively deal with procrastination and inaction.
1. It’s All Inside
Procrastination is an internal process and although it might feel like it’s happening to you, you actually are responsible for it. This procrastination tip can help put you back in control almost immediately. Procrastination is not an external force, but an internal response and evaluation. The simple realization that you are doing this to yourself gives you the power to do something about it.
2. It’s All You
When procrastination drags you down it’s too easy to think that ‘it just is’ and that you can’t do anything about it. Although it feels like you have no control, you actually do. In fact, this is why you feel out of control – because you believe that you can’t do anything about it. There are two very important beliefs you need to develop to help you break free from procrastination. The first is that you CAN overcome procrastination and the second is that YOU can overcome procrastination. No one else can do it for you and because you created it, you can un-create it.
3. It’s All In Your Head
The reason why most people remain stuck in patterns of procrastination is because of fear. At the most fundamental level, all forms of procrastination come down to fear. What you don’t face controls you. To overcome the fear and the procrastination that comes with it, you need to confront and do the very things you don’t want to do. The instant you do, you take charge and it no longer has any control over you. The ironic thing is that fear only exists in your imagination – it’s always something that hasn’t happened yet. Procrastination, and that fear, are not real – they are only the way you evaluate things in your mind.
4. It’s All About Conditioning
Success at anything in life relies on consistency. The best of the best at anything are those who can repeat their greatness consistently. The way you get consistent is through conditioning. Your nervous system operates through conditioning. When you do something over and over again it becomes ‘normal’ and when it’s normal you don’t have to think about it – it becomes automatic. The challenge is that this principle works both ways. Whether your conditioned responses support you or whether they pull you down, your nervous system does not make that distinction. If procrastination is your conditioned response, you will always feel out of control, simply because that’s what you’ve ‘learned’ to do automatically. You simply need to ‘recondition’ yourself to a new response; to teach yourself to respond in a different way.
5. It’s All about awareness
Procrastination does serve a purpose – and a very important one, but only if you are aware of the benefits. We only procrastinate about those things that have value to us. At some level, either directly or indirectly, you believe that taking action will benefit you. If you didn’t believe this, it would not bother you, right? Be grateful for procrastination and use it as a guide to ‘know’ what you need to act upon. Being aware of this fact and developing an awareness for what you do and fail to do, can empower you to be in charge of yourself on a much higher level.
Through coaching, my clients have come to learn that when they are empowered, they are in charge. Even if things seem to go wrong on the surface, underneath they know that they have the power to deal with it effectively. Always remember that you are ultimately in charge of you. Don’t delay. Act!
Work with me
Are you in the procrastination cycle right now? Do you need help overcoming your fear? I work with women all the time who desire accountability to take that next courageous step in the face of fear. If you’re ready to stop procrastinating, click here and schedule a time to talk. Empowerment can be yours today!