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  • Jayne Reah

Why can’t I just start? Tips for overcoming procrastination

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

By Jane Cox.

I’m procrastinating, but that’s okay. I mean everyone does it, don’t they? Don’t you? 95% of us admit to putting things off according to Dr Piers Steel author of The Procrastination Equation. See, evidence of my procrastination right there…. browsing the internet to research random procrastination facts! Procrastinating by doing something else, anything else. How fortunate that this time I’m procrastinating by doing something quite useful, learning about how we can overcome procrastination. A strategy I’ll confess to having used in the past to overcome this annoying and habitually repeating pattern of behaviour. But seriously? Why can’t I just start! Why can’t I resist this all-consuming impulse to be doing anything else but writing my first Work Stories Coaching blog post?

Well, the answer is, I can. And you can too. .

Increasing personal productivity and focus, including overcoming procrastination is one of the top 10 repeating themes we see clients bringing to coaching sessions. So let me share how applying our Whole Story Coaching model works for me and my clients in this space.

01. Make it matter

Start by clearly defining the outcome or task you want to achieve and why it matters to you. Be curious about what achieving the outcome says, if anything about you as a person. Then shine a spotlight on the real impact of your procrastination, list all the ways procrastinating will impact you, your health, your work, your happiness, your colleagues, your customers etc. Understand the real COSTs of your procrastination. And how it impacts your sense of personal identity.

02. Choose an enabling mindset

Be curious about what you currently believe about this outcome or task you want to achieve and your ability to achieve it. Challenge any rules or assumptions you are making about yourself, that may be holding you back. Consider where they originally came from, and question how fair, reasonable, and realistic they are. Choose some alternative more helpful ones (i.e., balanced, flexible, realistic, relevant)

03. Set a time limit for tolerating your discomfort

Decide what’s a comfortable period for you, e.g., could you bear working towards your desired outcome for 5 minutes /30 minutes/ half a day? Say to yourself “I don’t like it, but I’m strong, I can do this, and I can get through it!”

04. Plan and prepare

Prepare yourself by considering the actions you need to take and create the conditions you need to achieve your outcome, e.g. You might want to consider the time of day or place where you typically do your best work or you may find it helpful to remove distractions and switch off all social media alerts. You might want to create a plan, and prioritise your tasks. It can also help to let others know you are working towards your outcome so they can also support you and plan some mini rewards to celebrate your progress.

05. Just start

Take some action to move you closer towards your desired outcome. And it really doesn’t matter what it is. It gets you going, and clients often say its easier to maintain momentum than getting going in the first place. Just ask your self what’s one thing I could do….and then do it!

06. Review, reflect, and do

Take the time to appreciate what you are doing well to keep yourself motivated. Use the power of positive self talk, and keep on reminding yourself of all those positive consequences of taking action. And keep going.

So, what are you currently procrastinating about, that you would like to get on with? And how are you going to reward yourself once you have achieved your outcome? I’d love to hear your stories.

If you or your teams would like help making that first step, click HERE to learn more about how Work Stories Coaching can support you.

Author: Jane Cox

Jane is one our Work Stories founders and resident executive coach. To find out more about Jane client HERE

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