Recently, I had a conversation with a member of one of my groups about procrastination. He’s relatively new to the idea of accountability as a skill and he said something to the effect of, ” I guess I’ll get better at this over time, since you probably don’t struggle with procrastination anymore.” I immediately had to set the record straight. Yes, you will get better at being accountable but that doesn’t mean that you won’t procrastinate. The most successful and skilled among us, put off doing things, even when we know better. Honestly, I get procrastination around the things that we don’t want to do, but what I find vastly more interesting is why people, myself included, procrastinate on the things that we say we want. Why would we actually say we want something and then not do the work?
Well that’s why I love accountability so much. We get to distill what it is that we want into a few things that are most important to us and that are difficult for us to do without accountability. So it’s not a to-do list, it’s a hard-for-you list. That means for some reason these things that you really want to accomplish you find yourself putting off, avoiding, or doing without consistency. Why? Because these are the areas that require you to do something different than what you’ve been doing. You want to do these things because they will impact your life, right now. It’s not an accident that these are the things that you want to do. You might have financial success but have trouble attracting a relationship, you might have a stellar career but you can’t maintain a healthy weight. Look at what you are procrastinating and let it give you insight into where you need to grow. Because believe me, your procrastination will teach you something. I hear all the time, I want to get to the next level, well look at what you are avoiding, that’s where the next level begins.
Ask yourself this, what is something that you really want to tackle or get done but that you’ve been avoiding?
What one action could you take this week that would address it head on?
If you accept the challenge, please share what you learned from facing your procrastination by leaving a comment below.
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Oh gosh…. what a challenge! There is so much I want to achieve and yet, I let the same irritating routine things get in my way and stop me from taking “the next step” to reach the next level. At the end of the day I end up wanting to kick myself for letting myself down again…. Not that I want a stellar career, fame or fortune but I would like to see my career moving in a more interesting and vibrant direction. But having said that, getting started is ….. a slightly intimidating, slightly unnerving process and I think I’m letting the usual every day mundane tasks run my day and take control as a way of putting off taking the plunge.
Thanks for leaving such an open and honest comment here. You are not alone, I think a lot of us do exactly what you are doing. Being conscious of the fact that you are letting the mundane tasks take control as a way of putting off taking the plunge is a great first step! The next thing is to ask yourself, what is the one thing that you know you need to be doing that you are not doing? Then make a commitment to get it done, be sure to give yourself a timeline, then ask a friend, colleague, someone in a similar line of work to hold you accountable to getting it done. It is priceless to get this stuff out of your own head, to put a little tension around it by declaring it to someone else, and then taking conscious action.
I would add to Ali’s reply that sometimes, (usually) even “the one thing you know you need to be doing” can seem like a pretty big piece to bite off all at once. I’m a huge fan of “the very next thing”, which is taking anything that is intimidating and breaking it into as minute (as in tiny) steps as necessary to get the job done, one minute step at a time. Even making a phone call can be six or seven steps, and if you do each one right in order, the call gets made.
I’m so happy Simone! You are definitely not the only one 🙂
Thank you so much for writing this Ali. It really hit home & makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only person out there who procrastinates : )
I think you are right!
There is no space between doing and not doing….my favorite reminder when I wish to procrastinate. I guess the space is Procrastination!LOL!