Do you struggle with procrastination? Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk, going over the 20 plus tasks on your to-do list, and deciding which ones will get done.  Which actions do you gravitate to?  Designing your new company logo for the re-branding of your website or calling that difficult client who is demanding a deep discount for a project you know will be labor intensive?

Further down your list, you realize that you haven’t worked on your bookkeeping in two months because you abhor accounting.  However, another task on your list shows that you need to schedule that work lunch with your favorite client to catch up on life and assist them with a new direction in their business.

Which tasks would you choose?

In the daily operation of your business, one thing is certain: you will always have a mixed bag of both gratifying and grueling projects.  Some will produce feelings of elation and accomplishment, while others will produce heart palpitations and cold sweats.

Although our natural inclination towards grueling tasks is to run for the hills, pretend the tasks don’t exist, or conveniently “forget” to accomplish these tasks, the real danger lies in repeatedly engaging in these self-defeating behaviors that could negatively affect the future of your business.

These behaviors are, of course, examples of procrastination.

What is procrastination?  According to Merriam Webster, procrastination is “to be slow or late about doing something that should be done : to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it…”

Although many accept procrastination as a common problem and part of life, sometimes understanding the causes can help you move beyond this productivity-sapping behavior. Let’s take a deeper look at procrastination.

Common causes of procrastination.

Have you ever asked yourself WHY you procrastinate? Although the number of reasons are legion, there are some common and recurring causes. They include feelings of dread for the task at hand or unfamiliarity with the task.  Sheer overwhelm. Perfectionism. Unpleasantness.  It’s outside of your realm of expertise, or comfort level. It’s difficult. Or it could be that you just don’t feel like doing it.

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Knowing and analyzing why you engage in this behavior is an empowering, crucial step to moving beyond it. In my Productivity Coaching, I can help you identify ways to prioritize and reduce procrastination. By equipping you with the right tools, you will be able to tackle these challenges head-on, which will dramatically increase your productivity.

Fear plays a major role in procrastination.

You feel inadequate and ill-equipped.  You lack the experience.  You are afraid you are going to blow it and face irreparable consequences.  This fear paralyzes your ability to think clearly.  Breaking tasks down into bite-sized pieces and manageable steps makes completing tasks that cause you to procrastinate and achieving your final goal more likely.  Giving yourself rewards for accomplishing every little step turns drudgery into mastery. Each mini-victory boosts your confidence, morale, and motivation.

Procrastination is a form of self-sabotage.

An article in Psychology Today explains that, “Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.”  Are you afraid of failure? How about success? These are real fears that keep people from doing what needs to be done. Timothy Pychyl, PH.D., author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle, writes, “when we procrastinate on our goals, we are basically putting off our lives.” When you procrastinate, you are essentially constructing the very obstacles that will keep you from achieving success.

Procrastination affects our productivity.

Putting things off distances us from the goals that we deeply desire.  Our inaction creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Need to increase your income? You need to market yourself more.  This could mean making more prospecting calls.  Don’t like talking on the phone?  How about sending prospects an e-mail to introduce yourself and your business? Still need help?  A good coach can really help spur you on and keep you accountable. My Accelerate Results Coaching Program will help you sort through all the irrational fears and shift your mindset, enabling you to overcome obstacles, thereby getting your business to the next level.

Procrastination keeps us from facing our fears.

As humans, we are wired to avoid anything that produces pain.  What we don’t realize is that facing our fears could potentially eliminate them with practice.  With every fear conquered, your confidence soars to new heights.  Take every scary task as a challenge to be conquered and a valuable lesson to be learned. When you come out on the other side, ask yourself, “Was it really that bad?”  In a paralyzing state of fear, we tend to over-exaggerate things, only to learn that it was not as bad as our mind imagined.

Always ask yourself what you’ve learned in the process, journal it, reflect on it and see how it can be improved. If you have questions on getting started, contact me to explore coaching options that fit you best.  I will help you sort through the negative thoughts so that you can prepare the way for a successful future.  I would love to help you achieve that and so much more.

Procrastination is rooted in our emotional response to tasks we find difficult or unpleasant. The important thing to do is to get started, the momentum alone will slowly change the way we think about an unpleasant task.

Every major change begins with the first step. Remember, it’s all about the small wins and victories.

If there is someone you know who struggles with procrastination, please pass this along… and feel free to share on Twitter and Facebook.