Right there, that’s my life. You too?!
Being a procrastinator used to genuinely distress me. I desperately wanted to get stuff done, but I’d always find a way not to.
If I needed to study or meet a deadline? My house had never been cleaner! But the work itself?
Why couldn’t I just get off my arse and DO IT?
Myth-busting time: Procrastination is not about being lazy, unmotivated or not working hard enough.
To get deep, behind all procrastination is fear.
- Fear of getting it wrong. (If we don’t start, we can’t fail. At least, that’s what our brains tell us.)
- Fear of the unknown. (When something is new, our brains get petrified of the ‘unknown-ness’ and the discomfort that comes along with it.)
- Fear of not being good enough. (A UNIVERSAL fear. Everyone feels like this, sweet friend.)
To bust through procrastination, here are my top tips.
1. Know your triggers + have a list of feel-good mantras for when they pop up.
When you have thoughts like “I don’t want do this now, I have plenty of time, I’ll just start later” – realise this is fear! Then write your own mantras to combat them, e.g. “Good is good enough. I don’t have to do it perfectly, I just have to do it. I can do hard things.”
2. Get clear on your goal + define mini steps.
We often procrastinate when we aren’t clear on what we want. Make a list of your #1 goal that your want to achieve, then break your goal into steps SO small that your brain can’t protest. E.g. to start eating better: “1. Google recipes to find 5 yummy ones. 2. Write a shopping list. 3. Buy groceries. 4. Make first healthy meal.” Just do ONE each day to build momentum. For extra motivation, write these as a hard copy list and cross off each item as you go.
3. Apply the 5-minute rule.
(I use this ALL the time!) Set a 5-minute timer and tell yourself “I’m going to do X for just 5 minutes, and if I want to stop after that, I can.” (And you genuinely can stop then!) Starting is often the hardest part – but once we have, we can usually keep going.
4. Know what you do at first may be shit.
Yep. Your first go at anything will likely be crap – but that’s normal! We only get better when we actually do something. So embrace the shit-ness. Accept it as inevitable, and know you will get better.
5. Remember everything is figureoutable.
We might be scared of starting because it’s genuinely more than we’re capable of at that time. If that’s the case, the answer isn’t not do the thing. It’s to believe it’s possible to do – everyone’s gotta start somewhere! – and to figure out how to do it. (In the word of Marie Forleo, everything is figureoutable! So google it, reach out to someone for advice, or brainstorm ideas with your partner or bestie.
6. Fear the fear + do it anyway.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing everyone else has figured out the secret for not being scared. I used to think my husband (a total badass in business) was fearless when doing big presentations or speaking to powerful people. But he told me something I’ll never forget: “Jenna, I don’t not get scared. Of course I do. I always have and probably always will. I just do choose to do it anyway.” Life changing!
Tell me, lovely, are you a procrastinator like me?!