This week I facilitated a discussion on procrastination during the “Exploding Myths” course I’m leading this month at CoachInc.

None of us likes to procrastinate yet we love to spend time with the “Procrastination Dragon.” Why do we put things off?

Tell me in the comments section below. Don’t wait until later.

My students created a listicle of reasons why we procrastinate:

The project is just too damn hard

You decide to make a huge dent and take on something so big you have no idea where to begin.

For example, I’m learning “Clair de Lune” on piano and it’s a Mount Everestesque intention. Muy difícil.

Instead of looking at the whole arrangement, I’m practicing one measure at a time. Breaking it into smaller pieces.

Progress is slow though I’m a lot further than I was a few months back.


Poor organizational skills

Getting all your ducks in a row is not your thang.  You’re a big picture person and all the moving parts takes your mojo train off the tracks.

You feel like Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren of “Orange Is The New Black,” racking your brain on where to begin.

Next time, hit the pause button, sit back, breathe, mediate, etc.  and think how you’ll feel when you’re done. Then, make your first move and another, and so on.


Forced compliance

Without any buy in on your part, you’re told you have to work on a project and you’re pissed. You retaliate by erecting a fortress and a moat because nobody is gonna tell you what to do!

What if you changed the rules of the game? Instead of doing the minimum, crush the goal and show the team your dormant discretionary effort.

Who knows. You might get promoted!


Analysis paralysis

You’re the type that needs everything to be perfect to begin.

Wait too long and you take the risk of your idea becoming irrelevant. Before you know it, the market passes you in the left lane deeming you as useless as mudguards on a turtle.

I love the quote from Kathryn Mishew, CEO of “An ugly baby is better than no baby at all.”

Think you’ve got a good idea? Launch! You can always buff it up later. You’re going to monkey with it, regardless.


Not enough time

Some of us think we have all the time in the world.

We don’t walk around with an expiration stamp on our sleeve like a gallon of milk.

Every day of the week, lives are taken away from the innocent. Aurora, Herkimer, and the 74 shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook to name a few.

The next time you think of putting something off, ask yourself if you were on your death bed, would you regret not getting it done?


Fear of failure

I get it. You’re wondering whether or not you’ll live up to everyone’s expectations. Fear of losing face with family, peers, and friends.

Look at it this way. In five years, will anyone ever remember what you did or didn’t do? Probably not.

What you want is on the other side of fear.


Too many distractions

You decide you’d rather do anything but the one thing you know you need to do:

  • Post and peruse social media
  • Go play golf
  • Make a sandwich
  • Text
  • Wash the car

I had to close all my windows just to finish this piece.

Steven Pressfield, author of “Turning Pro” and “The War of Art” says simply sit down and do the work.

Here’s an idea! Check out the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer and work on your project for 25 minutes. When the bell rings, take a five minute break and do whatever you want. Rinse and repeat.


Aversion to pain

It’s not going to feel good!

Well, many times your goal isn’t aligned with your value system.

Is this something you’re passionate about? Does it align with your who?

If not, put this idea on the shelf and work on something that lights you up! You can always come back to the other idea when the timing is right.

As part of the coaching process, I help clients slay the “Procrastination Dragon.” How? Each person is different.

What works for one client would never work for another. I focus on who they are and leverage their gifts to crush their goals.

What’s your favorite reason to put things off?  How do you slay the “Procrastination Dragon?”

Tell me in the comments below.

Photo by Bill Gracey.

Share This