Procrastination Cures, Causes & Benefits

Messy desk with chocolate, laptop, coloured pencils, coffee mug, a "Keep Calm and Carry On" badge and a mobile in a woman's hand as she procrastinates

Procrastination struck hard this month.

I lost more time and energy postponing the job, than was needed to complete it.

Though it wasn’t a difficult or complicated task, it stayed on my To-Do List like an unwanted houseguest.

Every conversation, email and project proved a welcome distraction and a convenient excuse to delay…again!

you’re nodding with empathy and understanding, I know you are

To ease my guilty conscience, I even researched and retried procrastination cures, including prioritising,  letting go and optimising working timeframes. This bought me more time but didn’t finish the job any faster.

I tried all my normal remedies, the mental and physical tricks. applying just one of the following would usually see me through the slump:

  1. Using the 52/17 minute productivity strategy. Unfortunately I became distracted by other “tasks” and exaggerated their urgency. Working for 52 minutes wasn’t the issue. It was what I was working on (or not!), which was the problem.
  2. Reducing the 52 minutes to only 10 minutes. This technique was to get me over the hurdle of starting, but even 10 minutes proved too much of a challenge.
  3. Releasing endorphins and dopamine through exercise was fantastic…except it was too nice being outside and a great excuse to stay away from the office.
  4. Rewarding good behaviour. The rewards were lovely, though the chocolate negated the exercise and was consumed despite the lack of productivity, or maybe because of it!
  5. Sharing my procrastination woes increased the guilt once they were revealed.

I decided to attack the Procrastination bug holistically, to not only treat the symptoms, but tackle the cause:

  1. I switched off for a day and left the office. The catch was to stay active and engaged enough so my brain and emotions didn’t fixate on the job I “should” be doing. I also sanctioned the day to negate the guilt and scheduled it so I was busy doing things I happily chose to do, not what I felt I had to do. Even after five years of running my own business it can be hard to not feel that there are only three options: 1. Working on my business, 2. Working in my business or 3. Being on holiday (which sometimes involves options 1 and 2!).
  2. The catalyst for my breakthrough was a long and overdue lunch with my best friend, which I scheduled on my guilt free sanctioned day.
  3. We talked, laughed and sighed about everything – life, love, family, business and future plans. It was honest and heartfelt, and it was the cure I was searching for.
  4. I didn’t just share my procrastination dilemma, I asked for her advice. The solution was remarkably simple – she held me accountable as there wasn’t a client or deadline for this job. She checked in with me the following day to see how I was progressing. “Just get it done” was the backbone of her refrain, “You’ll feel better for it”. She was right.
  5. With the emotional and mental reset, I changed my physical environment as well. My desk was cleared of everything with the potential to distract me; all that remained was a computer, notepad and pen. A pot of my favourite tea was brewed. My playlist was changed to Country & Folk, which is not my normal choice and I usually find music distracting, however, lately the silence had become deafening.

It worked beyond my wildest expectations. The task was struck off my To-Do List within one day (the day after the lunch). I revelled in the relief of having the guilty weight removed.

Then, as is my nature, I was driven to consider why Procrastination had taken such a hold. If the reason wasn’t explored and questioned, it had the potential to reoccur.

You can read what I discovered when I dug deeper into the Procrastination cause in my next article. By questioning the symptom, it helped me resolve the cause and find a lasting cure.

I encourage you to question what you are experiencing – the good and the bad in business and life. If you haven’t been probing the cause and effects, it’s time to ask why. If you are struggling with this, please reach out and I can help you through my coaching services tailored for business owners.

Rebecca

Rebecca Collett, Owner of Snowed Under Solutions

 

 

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