Don’t Let Procrastination Steal Your Success
By: Divya Darling
July 22, 2014
Ever wondered why you procrastinate on things and what you can do to change it? Well read on, my friend, because this article is for you.
There are only three reasons that people procrastinate. One reason stems from lack of clarity – they don’t actually know what to do next. In this case procrastination is a response to overwhelm, and people are overwhelmed because the level of the task exceeds their level of belief. For example, if you wanted to write a book and you had never written so much as an article before, this would seem like a massive task. When viewed from that chunk size, it is one that you are likely to procrastinate on. However, if I asked you to write one sentence per day that seems a lot more manageable—it falls below the line of belief—so you’re less likely to procrastinate on it.
The second reason people procrastinate is that they have not established a clear connection—in terms of neuronal networks—between how the task at hand relates to their highest value. Specifically, they haven’t answered the question “how will doing this task get me more of what I value most in the world?” As such, it’s still an open loop in their minds. Once a strong neuronal network has been built linking the person’s highest values with what they want to accomplish, and the task size falls below the line of belief, people cease to procrastinate and begin taking action.
Thirdly, there isn’t an established trigger for them to know when to perform that task. This is critical when it comes to changing habits and adopting new behaviors – there has to be a trigger to let you know specifically now is the time for me to do X. For example, for my clients who have a goal of getting fit, I might link opening the fridge to doing six sit ups (small and manageable actions that fall below the line of belief). I’d also have them write a list of 100 reasons why getting fit will give them more of their highest value.
One of my mentors describes procrastination as the town burglar that you invite into your home and give permission to steal everything. Overall it’s never a good thing, but we’ve certainly all experienced it at some point in our lives. For you it may be the laundry that you procrastinate on, and for your neighbor it may be creating a piece of marketing content, but that’s only because you value different things. Regardless, once the task has been linked to your values, you’ll be inspired to get it done because you’ll become conscious of how it relates to your overall vision and your desire to live your ideal life.
The solution to procrastination is simple. Step one: get clear on what needs to be done and how to do it. Break down each task into its smallest possible components so that you know exactly which action is the next step you need to take to get to where you want to go. Step two: work out your why. Link the task to your highest value. Step three: figure out when you’ll do it and schedule it. Imagine yourself going through your established routine and allow one of your existing behaviors to operate as the trigger for this new task.