This task requires another healthy dose of self-awareness and radical honesty with yourself! It requires you to take a long hard look at how you spend your time and the internal dialogue you have with yourself about your time, your goals and your dreams…
What Are You Blind To?
It’s a trick question, isn’t it? Because most of the time we don’t know what we don’t know, and a blind spot by its very nature is something we can’t see.
Sometimes however, a blind spot isn’t so much something we can’t see but more something we don’t want to or refuse to see…
- It’s the 3 hours a day you spend on Facebook, in the name of ‘customer research’.
- It’s doing your finances instead of writing that e-course.
- It’s cleaning the kitchen instead of creating your business plan.
- It’s the 30 minutes you take to write a 5-line email, obsessing over the tone and wording of every single sentence.
- It’s the creation of numerous pretty images and quotes to share on social media, in the name of ‘content marketing’.
- It’s always telling yourself that your kids/the dog/your significant other/your job etc. is more important than the thing you’ve always wanted to create.
- It’s clearing your inbox instead of writing that book.
- It’s buying and trying every ebook, ecourse and e-product under the sun, instead of creating your own (again in the name of ‘research’).
- It’s prioritising everything else over and above the creation of your own business/art/book.
- It’s always putting client work first ahead of working on your own business.
- It’s drifting along feeling like you’re working to a plan, when in reality you have no idea where you are, where you’re going or what on earth to do next.
- It’s telling yourself, “I’ve got plenty of time to do this tomorrow”…when tomorrow never comes.
- It’s talking endlessly about what you’re going to do but never actually getting round to doing it.
Your blind spots can also be mistaken beliefs or beliefs that don’t serve you well. A belief that…
- What you’re doing is working.
- What you’re doing isn’t working.
- All you need to do to make things work is work a bit harder.
- Your business/idea isn’t that important; there are far greater priorities in your life.
- Your clients and customers come first.
- You don’t deserve help and support.
- It is more worthy or worthwhile to struggle on, alone.
- It’s cheaper to do everything by yourself.
- It’s not costing you anything to maintain the current status quo.
- You have far more time than money.
- Growing your business doesn’t require anything more than you working harder.
- Asking for support is for weak people.
- You’ll be seen as a failure if you ask for help.
- You’ll manage; you always have.
Why Do You Procrastinate?
Understanding how you procrastinate is useful but knowing why you do it is the real key to overcoming it.
Why do you choose to spend time doing tasks that don’t move your closer to where you want to be, in effect self sabotaging your dreams, goals, and plans?
You may be doing this unconsciously, unaware that you are self sabotaging all your efforts; or perhaps you are fully conscious and aware of what you’re doing but for some reason you’re unable to stop yourself.
The Four Stages of Competence can help you understand where you are on this…
Unconscious Incompetence – in this scenario, you don’t consciously realise that what you’re doing isn’t moving your forwards. You may not even realise that you’re procrastinating because you believe that what you’re doing is actually working. You’re in denial, and need to set better measures to determine what is and isn’t successful and effective.
Conscious Incompetence – in this scenario, you know that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do what you need to do but you’re choosing not to address this lack of skill and instead fiddle around doing everything but the one thing you need to do that would move you forwards. Why are you refusing to address this?
Conscious Competence and Unconscious Competence – in both of these scenarios, where you possess the required skill to make progress, the fact that you’re choosing to procrastinate instead hints at a deeper motivation to NOT make progress.
Usually – like the consciously incompetent – the ‘choice’ to procrastinate and self sabotage comes from fear…
What Do You Fear?
The reason why many people sabotage their own success through procrastination in any form often boils down to fear.
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of judgement
- Fear of not fitting in
- Fear of not standing out
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of knowing what you’ll face
- Fear of being wrong
- Fear of being right
- Fear of change
- Fear of staying the same
- Fear of winning
- Fear of losing
- Fear of dying
- Fear of living
…as you read through the list above, which elicits the strongest response in you? Whatever your fear, there’s only one true way to overcome it…face it.
You can deny it, bury it, ignore it and run from it but I wonder how that’s been working out for you so far?
One effective technique to face a fear of any kind is to stare down the barrel of it; to imagine the worst case scenario and then think about how you’d cope, what you’d do and how it’d feel.
When you face it, it’s no longer the unknown and when you face it and consider how you’d cope on an emotional and practical level, you activate a more positive response in yourself – a solutions-based approach – versus a motionless, uncontrollable fear.
When you address your procrastination at this deeper level – getting to the core of ‘why’ you procrastinate – it means you can adapt your procrastination-busting approach to be multi-pronged; you can work at all levels – both surface and deep –using the techniques, tools and approaches we’re sharing to get stuff done.