It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women overcome their limitations and achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs.
It’s Friday evening and I’m in an airport in Ohio traveling back home to Atlanta after a busy work week. I was trying to get on an earlier flight to come home, because well, TGIF! I got to the airport about five hours before my scheduled flight to find out I couldn’t change my ticket. That’s what I get for being frugal (aka cheap) and getting the Basic Economy ticket. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I’m learning to go with the flow and not sweat the small things so I think to myself, this is great, I can finally work on my blog! Maybe I can have an entry next week and not in the next two months as is my current track record. Why is it that I then spend the next three and half hours on Facebook, Instagram, texting and looking at flights for my next vacation, which is in two months? One word. Procrastination.
Sorry, just took a break to check my phone.
I struggle with procrastination. It’s not even that I work better under pressure. That’s just not true. Most of us don’t. But I put things off until the last minute or until I talk myself out of doing it in the first place. Why do I do this? If you have a procrastination problem like me, here are a few of the most common reasons:
1. Fear of failure.
On a subconscious level we procrastinate because of fear. Fear of failing, fear of not being good enough or whatever else it is we’re afraid of. This fear causes anxiety and stress and we deal with this by avoidance. We can’t fail at something we aren’t actually doing, right? But this fear of failure prevents us from trying new things, taking risks and achieving greater success. Facing our fear head on will help us overcome it or at least we can learn to better manage the fear.
2. Difficult tasks
We tend to put off difficult or unpleasant tasks. Do you know how often I’ve dreaded going to the gym, taking hours to get there only to have a great time once I’m there. It could be that you don’t enjoy your work because you find it boring or uninteresting or perhaps you have anxiety about a difficult conversation so you keep putting it off. We tend to shift our focus on easier, less stressful tasks and before we know it another day has passed and we still haven’t done what we should have.
One strategy is to make a To-Do List and prioritize your most important, most difficult tasks and do these first. This frees you from having to think about them anymore and gets them off your list.
3. Perfectionist Paralysis
Do you have to do tons of research before you can start on a project? Does it have to be the right or ideal time to start? Or maybe you get caught up in the details? You might have perfectionist paralysis. Having high standards is good but sometimes we delay completing a task because we want the outcome to be nothing less than perfect.
This is one area I’ve had to work on and it all ties back to that self limiting belief that we or what we offer to the world isn’t good enough. If you’re currently stuck, remember that good enough and done is better than perfect and pending. Take imperfect action and start your task already!
4. Lack of self control
It takes discipline to delay gratification and this is harder when you don’t have much self control. Rather than go after the immediate benefit of enjoying your favorite TV show, focus on the long term rewards of completing that work or school assignment on time. Make better long term choices by acting in the best interest of your future self. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but the more you exercise your self-control muscle the stronger it becomes.
One sure way to self-sabotage is to procrastinate. It’s actually one of the most common self- sabotaging behaviors. We are gifted with a finite amount of time, so stop standing in your own way, start achieving your goals and be the awesome person you are!
Knowing the real reason why you procrastinate is key to overcoming this habit. Which reason do you identify with?
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