Everyone I know, including me, procrastinates. I’d like to think that I am a self-disciplined individual, and I have worked for most of my career on being goal-focused and using time and task management systems to stay on track.Yet, I find that each quarter when I do my personal planning, there are always a few things that are lingering on my lists. Usually, those things have been there for some time. Sound familiar?
During my quarterly session in my Strategic Coach program, Dan Sullivan tackled procrastination head-on. He said dealing with procrastination begins with “telling the truth,” which requires asking yourself why you’re procrastinating.
The answers to the question of “why” points to the “what” that needs to be done to get in motion and strike the task from the list. The answer could be that it’s not something you’re really equipped to do. So, perhaps the answer is finding someone else on your team to do it who is.
Perhaps the answer is you’re afraid. That is one that I’m very familiar with, but one I have come to welcome when I recognize it! When I’m procrastinating out of fear, it’s almost always because I don’t think I can do it (whatever “it” is). Well, who in their right mind embraces fear?
One of Sullivan’s most brilliant concepts is “The 4 C’s Formula” which he details in a small book available here. Sullivan says that fear is the creative force entrepreneurs use for progress. It is the tension between commitment and capability (two of the four “Cs”). When I procrastinate out of fear, it’s because I’ve yet to commit to something, and again that’s usually because I don’t think I can do it. When I recognize this, my learned reaction is to have courage (the 3rd “C”) and get on with doing the task and developing the capability to make it happen.
In my experience, this always results in increased confidence (the 4th “C”) and a terrific feeling of accomplishment.
Other times when I procrastinate, I recognize when I “tell the truth” that it’s because the task is something I just really don’t want to do. Perhaps, it sounded good at the time I wrote it down, or it was someone else’s priority, or maybe my plans have simply changed. When I recognize this, I give myself a guilt-free pass to strike it off the list!
So, to narrow down your list and begin to make real progress, consider ending procrastination. Begin by telling yourself the truth. Then, either eliminate the task or recognize your fear, commit to overcoming it, and the capability you need will begin to appear. Don’t forget to celebrate with the newly created confidence you will have! This is the fuel for the next round…