Procrastination, Why Do We Do It? And How To Stop It

By Emma Colsey | Uncategorized

Nov 18

Procrastination, Why Do We Do It? And How To Stop It

Oh good ole procrastination, it’s a funny ole thing and I know we all do it. But it’s sooooo frustrating right??

I know I am always saying oh I have so much on, so little time blah blah blah. Then as soon as I do have the space to get things done I find myself on youtube watching Patricia bright and not only that, I’ll eat sweets while I do it. The procrastination and self sabotage double whammy. Then I’ll feel bad for wasting so much time and then start beating myself up about it all.

Wahhhhhhhh!!!

I have become so much better at first off noticing it, but then also using some specific tools to shift through and step back into action.

Because procrastination like anything else we want to master in life, it’s a habit. You are not a procrastinator, you are just in the habit of procrastination. But the good news is habits and behaviours can be changed, so fear not, all is not lost.

So why exactly do we do it??

I have found through my own practices and research that prograstination comes from 3 main challenges that we face.

Stress – procrastination is a form of stress relief and Mel Robbins talks about this a lot, (in fact if you haven’t already be sure to check out her awesome book The 5 Second Rule). You see, your brain is always serving to keep you safe and when you are facing high stress levels (from the thought of having to do that really hard thing that you don’t really want to do will make you feel stressed), you perceive that the thing is going to cause you distress by having to complete it and so you put it off to relieve yourself from that stressful activity. 

Instead you watch cat videos because that is instantly gratifying and feels warm, fuzzy and it’s funny right? But the frustrating thing is that in the long run, putting this thing off, only adds more stress. 

So it’s no coincidence that procrastinators therefore also then have a tendency to have sleep issues. They have so many things they need to get done, but procrastinate on actually getting it done it then plays on their mind affecting the ability to get to sleep. So now procrastination is now not only stopping you from reaching your goals, but it is actually starting to affect your health too. 

Truth is we are suffering from a case of information overload, from emails, texts, school trips, to-do lists, work, keeping fit, there is just so much going on and our brains are not capable to deal with all that is going on around us. Yes technology is amazing and the fact that we have so much information at our fingertips is incredible but so many of us are just struggling to process it all, and the way our brains work is that they are just not capable of dealing with so much information all at once.

But I don’t tell you this to stress you out even more. Keep on reading as I will be sharing how you can give your brain a little bit of support and move out of procrastination and stressful overload and back into action.

The second reason many people procrastinate is due to good ole Fear – That feeling when the tasks you need to get done just feels waaaayyyyyy out of your comfort zone, it feels hard and we don’t want to fail, so we just put it off. This however become our own self fulfilling prophecy. It gives you the opportunity to say ‘Oh well I didn’t really give it my all, that’s why I failed’ yeah I didn’t really revise for that test (apart from the 7 hours I did before the actual test) ‘that’s why I didn’t pass it’

This also links into the final reason and that is

Self Worth – We have a natural innate need to be seen by others and ourselves as being capable, competent and able. It’s a primary need and part of our self identity ( as talked about by Nic Voge in his Ted Talk on Self Worth and it’s relationship to procrastination). 

The belief that performance is = to ability which then = your self worth. We identify with how we perform at something as becoming part of our identity.

Your self worth is sooooo much more than your ability to show up and perform. Once you can start to wrap your head and really appreciate yourself and your worth and base it upon many other things, it takes the pressure off what you are working towards achieving.

So looking at those core elements, what steps can we put into place to stop the habit of procrastination from holding us back? Here are my top go to’s any time I notice myself preventing myself from taking the action on moving towards my big dreams and goals.

  1. Catching it in awareness – Ok I am procrastinating, now ask these questions, why am I doing this? Is it really as bad as I am making it out to be? What do I actually want to achieve? Why do I care about achieving this thing? What small action could I take right now to move through it?? 
  2. Just do 5 minutes. Do those 5 mins right now, because 80% of the time you will find that you are able to keep on going.
  3. Forgive yourself for procrastinating & practice being courageous. If you beat yourself up about it, it will only continue to intensify it. Let it go and practice being courageous especially if procrastination is caused by fear. Courage is not about being fearless, it’s about showing up and taking action despite that fear.
  4. Focus – Goal setting and setting goals from soul, daily focus, plan and schedule, of course if you don’t already have the Get Your Sh*t Together life planner go and get it now CLICK HERE to get your free copy and goal setting training. This will teach you the process on how to get clarity on what you want, to set goals with soul and get intentional about your action steps. This tool has been a monumental game changer for my own levels of procrastination.. Focus, turn off all notifications. Create undistracted environments. Multi tasking is a myth, it’s messy. Our brains don’t like to go back and forth, it makes us feel stressed out and increases cortisol levels. Focus on one thing at a time.
  5. Get accountable. Set yourself deadlines and have someone there to hold you accountable to it. Why I have a coach that makes me accountable to the next phase of my business goals. My writing group to hold me accountable to my book writing. A body coach to help keep me accountable to my body and fitness goals. It is, of course, why I am so passionate about my own coaching groups. And it doesn’t matter whether you come to work with me, or with any coach BUT if you are serious about overcoming this and actually achieving your goals you can massively improve your success by getting help from a coach.

Of course you could procrastinate on doing any of these steps and stay exactly where you are. Stuck in the space of wanting a different result but not doing a damn thing about it. Remember procrastination is a habit and just like anything else we can shift those one little step at a time. 

So give the steps above a go, let me know how you get on. And you won’t catch it every time, BUT on the times you catch yourself avoiding the thing that you really know you ‘should’ be just start with those first few questions.

I’d love to know your thoughts and if this was helpful to you. And if it was please share it with your friends, pin it to your pinterest board so you can come back to it, but most of all take freeking action on it.

Because you and your dreams are worth it.

Love Always

Emma

PS – If you are ready to get really accountable to your goals and would like my support in doing that, then check out my amazing Shine Squad monthly group coaching space HERE. The fire come from this amazing group of women never ceases to blow my mind, and I would love to support you as part of this.