Procrastination is something that comes up a lot, doesn’t it?  And what I don’t like about procrastination, aside from the fact that you’re not getting things done, is that it feels like such a helpless state.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of helpless states.

When you really think about it, why do we procrastinate?  Take a minute right now, no you can’t leave this for later, and think about something you’re procrastinating on.  Now, ask yourself, why aren’t I taking action on this?  What is getting in my way?  This is the first step to overcoming procrastination, understanding what is really going on, because it ‘s a smokescreen.

When I take people through this process, a common thing that comes up is that they believe they are procrastinating because they don’t know what to do.  Sound familiar?  So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do.  First thing, stop saying anything to the effect of, “I don’t know what to do.”  This will not support you in moving out of procrastination.  Instead, focus on something resourceful like, “I know I can figure this out.”

Then think about what you do know about the situation.  What is the point where you get stuck?  Now ask yourself what knowledge, skills, abilities, authority and/or resources do you need to help you begin to make progress.  Figure out what you need to move forward and shift your focus onto getting this done.  Take immediate action.

The fastest way out of procrastination is to do something.  So, if your knowledge is lacking, figure out where you can get or who knows what you need to know.  If it’s a work issue and you don’t have the authority you need to move forward, brainstorm how you can get the authority you need, if you don’t think you can get it, figure out who has it and how you can work with this them to achieve your goal.

Putting yourself into problem solving mode, as we have done here, and then taking action is a great recipe for overcoming procrastination.  So go out there and get it done!

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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