We’ve all said it at one point or another….”I’m a procrastinator” or “I haven’t finished yet because I’m procrastinating.”
People talk about it like it’s a fixed state or has somehow become our destiny. Sometimes it sounds like it has become a part of us. Like a not so powerful superhero…
But procrastination isn’t a noun, it isn’t a fixed state and it’s definitely not who we are.
Procrastination is a STORY
It’s a story that we have chosen to tell ourselves and tell others as a reason why we haven’t completed what we set out to accomplish.
Recently I’ve been working with my coaching clients on changing the stories they’ve created in their life that no longer serves them. They’ve discovered that most times, the root of becoming a “procrastinator” is fear. It becomes a built in excuse for why we don’t accomplish what we set out to do.
Full Definition of Procrastinate: transitive verb: to put off intentionally and habitually intransitive verb: to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done
Dr. Steel Piers did extensive research on procrastination and published his findings in a book called The Procrastination Equation.
Take a second and think about what you have been putting off lately in the name of procrastination. Now I want you to assess how these four factors are showing up in that equation:
Expectancy- this is the level of confidence you have about your goal or what you want to do. People are often fearful that they won’t be successful so their expectancy is low which makes it easier to put it off.
Value- how fired up are you about completing the task or achieving the goal? If you aren’t motivated, think about the benefit of completing it (i.e peace of mind, better health, etc).
Impulsivity- how impulsive are you? Do you stop in the middle of a task or put it off to check email, facebook or send a text message? This is one of the major factors that keeps you in the procrastination story.
Delay- How many times have you said things like “I’ll do it after I watch some TV” or “this can wait until tomorrow.” This is the time to increase your expectancy and realize the value of completing this task RIGHT NOW!
Four Ways To Stop Procrastinating
Set goals- goal setting and creating small wins in your life increase and fuel your motivation. Make your goals challenging, meaningful, feasible and specific.
Just begin the process- focus on process goals rather than outcome goals. For example, instead of worrying about completing your 10-page paper all at once, shift to the process. Set a goal to write for 25 minutes today.
Focus to finish- set a timer for 25 minutes. Turn off all notifications, phones, and social media. Focus on one task for 25 minutes, then give yourself a 5-minute break. REPEAT. This is called the Pomodoro Technique.
Define you WHY- what is your goal behind the goal? Why are you doing what your about to do? Here is a great video by Simon Sinek on finding your Why.
You are not a procrastinator!!! That doesn’t have to be your story anymore!
Create a new story today by:
a) Assessing where you are on the on the procrastination equation.
b) Implementing the four steps I’ve laid out for you!
A new habit usually takes anywhere between 30 days to 245 days to create, averaging out at around 66 days. Starting today, try and implement the four steps above whenever you find yourself telling the procrastination STORY!
Remember it’s only a STORY and you are the author of YOUR STORY.
Change your story and change your life!
High-Performance Coach and Fatherhood Thought Leader Devon Bandison teaches business owners and entrepreneurs around the world how to achieve more at work, at home, and in the community. His coaching has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and he ‘s a contributing writer for the Huffington Post.
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