When surveyed, up to 60% of women in business will say procrastination causes them to sabotage their success.
“I’ve got so much to do, I know I should do it, but I find myself procrastinating…. Losing time on social media, ‘fluffing’ around in the office, getting distracted.
So, what causes Procrastination and how you can you break the habit so that you can actively pursue your dreams and success this year?
Firstly, it’s important to know that, fundamentally, procrastination is really just an umbrella ‘label’ used to broadly disguise a series of emotions or beliefs. It’s any excuse that you can draw from to prevent you from either taking action, or looking into what you’re feeling about taking action.
Sure – you can take practical advice like “make a list, create a plan, work to a schedule”…. But how many lists, plans and schedules have you created in the past? And how many have you stuck to for more than just a few months…. Weeks…. Ok days?! How long does your new plan last before something gets in the way and you find yourself procrastinating again?
To stop the cycle of procrastinating from continue, it’s important that you take the time (and find the courage) to go deeper – to identify what’s really going on when you get caught in a state of procrastination.
You can start this by asking yourself two questions….
What are you feeling in the moment when procrastination strikes?
Doubt? Fear? Insecurity? Overwhelmed? Uncertain?
What are you saying to yourself?
I can’t do this? What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? I don’t know where to start? I’ve got soooooo much to do!
The female brain being the emotionally driven brain that it is, works in such a way, that while ever it is focusing on the story or the details (that is, the thoughts) it is fueling an emotion. And every time that emotion is felt as a result of the story, the emotion is strengthened.
And here’s the kicker – even if you’re not fully AWARE of what you’re thinking, the feeling is being felt anyway – that’s why you feel overwhelmed…. Or stuck. Or confused. Because the thoughts are still there and they are being felt by YOU.
Therefore, the more time you spend thinking about your excuses or the reasons why something can’t be done, the more emotional you will feel, the more overwhelmed you’ll feel and the more you will procrastinate!
It’s a destructive cycle that prevent many women in business truly being able to create the success they deserve.
So how can you stop procrastinating?
Step 1. Step away….
Physically remove yourself from the task(s) that you are procrastinating over.
Give yourself a moment to see the entire situation from a different point of view and notice how this change of perception alters your emotional state.
Step 2. Expand what you are seeing….
Focusing on the problem, or the list of things you need to do, causes you to create a tunnel. And the more time you spend in the tunnel, the longer and darker it becomes – you lose sight of everything else and see only the dark walls that lead to a long path of limitations.
Expand the tunnel – become aware of your surroundings. Find a stationary point immediately in front of you (and slightly above eye level) to focus on. Hold your eyes on this object for this entire exercise.
Now, bring your awareness to the room around you – how much of the room can you see? What objects can you see to the left of you? To the right of you? What else can you hear? Or smell?
By doing this, you will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will calm down your thought processes and therefore your emotions and will inevitably help you to create clarity around what’s going on and what you can do/control.
Step 3. Acknowledge what you are really feeling and believing….
Although it’s not going to solve the problem for you, acknowledging it will soften the intensity.
It’s like when a child is wanting their mumma’s attention…. They will continue to call out, and act out, until mumma turns and acknowledges them. Your thoughts behave in the same manner – and the longer you ignore them, the louder they will become – they show you this through your feelings…. Your emotions will get stronger and stronger until you acknowledge the source of the feeling, being your stories and thoughts.
LISTEN to what you are saying to yourself, acknowledge it and neutralize it by addressing it through action.
The more you take the time to do this, the less procrastination you’ll find yourself in and the more inspired you’ll feel to act in your business.