Time to quit procrastinating

LIMITING beliefs busted? Check. Goals defined? Check. Action steps diarised? Check. This ideal life thing is easy, right?

Sometimes, however, even when we are super clear on what we want and are committed to making it happen, sometimes - we just don't do it! The registration papers stay in a pile in the kitchen. The house remains unbought. The great trip just a pipe dream. Why is that? Good old procrastination, that's why. It's not news that we will often put off taking action, even though we know it's something we really want to accomplish.

There are three key reasons (excuses/lies) we tell ourselves when we procrastinate. The interesting thing is that the underlying emotion for all these justifications is exactly the same: fear, plain and simple. Realising that procrastination is simply fear in disguise can be very liberating. See if you recognise the following:

I can't do it yet; it won't be perfect

Perfectionism is a killer of great ideas and splendid plans. It literally stops us in our tracks. The website doesn't get launched, just draft after draft.

The course doesn't get taken through fear of not being able to do it "well enough". The house doesn't get painted through fear of not choosing the "right" colour.

Solution: Make a decision to start or launch something as it is (it may be 80 per cent good enough, but not perfect) and use that to get feedback on your performance, then tweak and improve from there. Accept that perfectionism kills plans and that 80 per cent good enough is better than 0 per cent of perfect because it never actually happens. You can tweak things as you go.

I can't do it yet it, I don't have time

If it's something that you really, really want, then you have to choose to make the time. Life is busy. Time doesn't magically create itself in your diary. You need to make space for it. This is what I call The Obama Principle. He makes time to work out every day. He's a busy guy. Busier than you. But it's a priority to him so it happens.

If the thing you are procrastinating on is a priority for you then you need to just do it. The rest of life will flow around it. Some less important stuff will drop off the list. If you are waiting for the right time it will never come.

Solution: Book that holiday. Go see the bank about house buying options. Reserve your place on that course. Schedule the retreat day. Just do it, and force the flow of your time around it.

I can't do it yet people/I might not like it

Sure, they might not. No one might buy the thing you are selling/like your wood sculpture/approve of you joining the circus. But if it's the thing that you want then your own approval is more important than any external praise. Trust your own judgment and leap.

Once you have identified the fear(s) driving your procrastination there are five tools you can use to keep that procrastination at bay.

Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise, visit positivebalance.co.nz or connect on Facebook.

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