Break procrastination with a sense of purpose

Are you someone who gets an idea, starts with a burst of enthusiasm, but then holds off taking one tiny step?

Even a small setback can become a big roadblock. You know it’s going to be something small you have to do, but you don’t know how to start.

Why advice like “Just do it!” Just doesn’t work

You may have been told: “Just do it!” Some well-wishing colleague may have said: “Don’t overthink it!” But somehow that advice can just increase the sense of panic.

If the “Just do it!” advice does work, well, then just do it!

But if it doesn’t, here’s why: you procrastinate because you feel unsure, maybe a bit out of control. The pressure to get something done is from outside of you.

Facing failure (and success!)

You’re not clear about what the impact will be of that thing you’re procrastinating about once you’ve done it.

You’re unsure what success looks like, and you’re afraid of failing, because you’re stepping into unknown territory.

So, here’s one way of dealing with that.

Define exactly what the result is that you are aiming to achieve. What does success actually look like? Get specific here.

What does failure look like?

Also, when it comes to possible failure, what does that look like? What if it’s only good enough, and not outstanding? What’s the real impact?

And if you don’t proceed, what opportunity are you missing out on? Once again, make it specific here.

Procrastination is usually driven by fear. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment. It’s always driven by a feeling of being out of control; subordinating your skills and efforts to some other force you can’t control.

By reining in some of those fears, simply by defining them, you can put some boundaries around those fears.

Anthony English