I bought a book on procrastination, but I never got around to reading it.
My name is Lori and I am a procrastinator. I even put off writing this article, but why? Why do we procrastinate?
Recently, I wanted to start making new videos for my Youtube channel, but I didn’t do it. Instead, I just thought of all the reasons I wasn’t ready. I needed to lose a few pounds; I would look better on camera if I was thinner. The camera adds ten pounds, doesn’t it? Then I thought I should wait until I got my hair cut so I would look more professional. Next, I started thinking maybe I shouldn’t put myself on Youtube at all. I should just hire a professional actress. It finally occurred to me that I was waiting to be perfect.
Perfectionism was causing my procrastination. The only way I would ever make my video was to let go of perfectionism. I was watching a marketing video by a social media influencer. He had quirky features, geeky glasses and was bald, but he had over 90,000 hits on his video. It was his words and wisdom that inspired me to watch. Once I started listening to him, all his flaws disappeared. He has confidence and exudes authority.
I was emailed another video by the author of a best-selling book. I watched his video and saw that he was extremely overweight. People pay a lot of money to watch his video webinars and take his classes.
I had my “ah hah” moment, as Oprah would say. The difference between other people who were making money through videos and myself was that I was waiting to be perfect. The truth is that nobody’s perfect. All I was doing by waiting around and pondering over when it would be the right time for me to create a video class was procrastinating. I was sabotaging myself by not letting go of perfectionism and just frigging doing it. Isn’t that Nike’s slogan?
When you find yourself procrastinating, here are some questions you should ask yourself about why you are putting off the task.
Write down your answers to these questions.
1. Why am I putting off this task?
2. What is stopping me from completing it?
3. What am I waiting for?
4. Am I hurting myself by procrastinating?
5. What is procrastinating costing me?
6. Am I losing valuable time while waiting for perfection?
7. Am I losing money by trying to be perfect?
8. What is procrastinating costing me?
9. Is not finishing this project causing me anxiety?
Now, take a moment to imagine that the project you are putting off is finished and ask yourself how you feel. Do you anticipate feelings of relief and unburdening yourself?
Now just frigging do it!
Don’t stop until you’re done.
When you complete a task that you’ve been procrastinating about give yourself credit and be proud. Overcoming the hurdle of procrastination will cause you to feel more relaxed, and have less anxiety.
You may think you are saving yourself from stress by putting off jobs that you need to get done, but you are actually exerting a lot more energy worrying about it.
One more tip in overcoming procrastination is to break your day into small blocks of time. If you have a half hour between appointments, see if you can get 30 minutes of a particular task taken care of instead of mindlessly surfing your smartphone or playing a video game.
Once you let go of the perception that you have to be perfect, you can overcome your procrastinating and lead a more successful life.
Featured photo credit: Drowning under a mountain of paper / flickr user net_efekt via flickr.com