Everyone has at least one thing they avoid doing. Whether it’s shredding paperwork (I’m guilty of this), opening your credit card bill, getting that knocking noise on your car looked at, updating your CV, or something else.
We are all masters at coming up with excuses for procrastinating, normally a lack of something such as time, money, energy, interest, knowledge or experience.
However the truth is that none of those are the real reason we procrastinate. A perfect example is of a person who is desperate to change career. They’ve been meaning to update their CV for months yet they never quite get around to doing it. Of course because they don’t have the time, or they’re just too tired by the time they get home.
Inform that same person that they are being made redundant, and suddenly they find an abundance of time and energy to update their CV. Suddenly that person has a sense of urgency. They have bills to pay, they’ve done little or no research into an alternative career and now they have to do something about it.
“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.” ~ Unknown
Why do we procrastinate?
– We are unclear about what is required
Normally we procrastinate when we believe a task will be difficult, uninteresting, time-consuming or we don’t understand what needs to be done.
A career change could be considered difficult and time-consuming and requires a great deal of research into what needs to be done. So despite someone being desperate to make it happen, you can see why they would be procrastinating around updating their CV.
– We don’t see it as urgent
If something is not urgent, it becomes easy to put off. There are no immediate consequences and although life may not be exactly as you would like, things are pretty much stable and consistent. It is not until there is a real threat to life as you know it that you will be spurred into action, such as redundancy for example.
– We don’t see it as important
Another reason for procrastination is that the task is not actually important to you. It is something you feel you should do, or it is a required of you by someone else. If you have zero interest in doing something and see no benefit in doing it, more often than not, it will not get done.
Here are three things you can do to overcome procrastination and become more productive:
- Learn to manage your time, actions and overall arrangements on a regular basis. There are a number of planning and time management tools available, find what works for you and use it.
- Identify tasks that realistically will not get done, and remove them. Knowing they need to be done uses mental energy that could otherwise be used on urgent and important tasks.
- Plan and prioritise. Work out what is urgent and what it is important and then work on your tasks in order of priority.
Procrastination can be devastating to your dreams, goals and aspirations and often causes feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. Often, the things you put off, once completed actually have a positive impact on your life, and you wish you’d done them sooner.
So as the saying goes, don’t put off until tomorrow, that which you can do today. If you’ve said you’re going to do it, just do it!
What have you been avoiding that if accomplished, would make a positive difference to your life?
Leanne Lindsey loves inspiring, motivating and empowering women who have had enough of feeling demotivated, fed up and unfulfilled to create a career and life they love. She is a Career and Lifestyle Fulfilment Coach and author of Get A Career & Life You Love, who has experienced redundancy, a complete career change, starting a small business and as a result is enjoying what she calls “the sweetness of life”.
Through 1-1 coaching, workshops and writing, Leanne works predominantly with women who are considering a career change or craving a more fulfilled life, to identify any limiting beliefs, find inspiration, get creative, explore their options, rediscover their purpose and develop a plan for living a more meaningful life, full of happiness, joy, peace and abundance.