Feb 12th, 2021
Are you constantly chasing your tail and shifting things from one day to the next because you didn't get them done, or are you on top of your priorities and making the progress that you want? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, Emotional Intelligence Speaker and Trainer of the Year and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today I want to continue our conversation around making sure that in 2021, you get the result that you want by helping you to overcome your procrastination.
Procrastination is one of those funny things where we can joke about it and say, "Look, I was going to procrastinate once, but I never got around to it." However, it's not really a laughing matter. Procrastination is the thief of time. It's the thief of results. It's what holds you back from getting forward and getting the things that you're going after. So instead of just giving you some tips on how to be more productive, I want to step back and I want to take a look at the reason why we procrastinate. One of the main reasons why people procrastinate is that they don't have confidence in themselves to actually be able to achieve the result. Another reason is that they don't even feel like they deserve the result and they know in their subconscious that if they were to get those things done, that it would actually shift the needle, move it towards where they want it to go, and they would have to then step outside that comfort zone, step outside that belief zone, breakthrough that cap, that ceiling that they'd placed on themselves. So therefore, self-sabotage strategies are employed to make sure that that certainly doesn't happen.
So, the main reasons why people don't get things done are not because of a lack of productivity skills. Yes, there are some things that we know work really, really well. And if you've been around with me for a while, you know that I do not believe in time management. I believe in three other things, because you aren't in a position to manage time. And if you haven't watched the episode or listen to the podcast called "Stop Managing Time", go back and search for that. Have a read and listen of that one, and it'll help you to see what you need to focus on instead. But those aren't the reasons why we don't get things done. In my corporate career, when I was running teams, I would get trainers to come in and give more skills. And the problem was they weren't using the skills that we gave them last year. So finally, when I did a lot of study on this and I started my own personal development journey, I realised that it wasn't about adding more skills. It was about getting to the root cause of why they weren't using the skills that they already had. We're all smart people. We're all intelligent. We have the ability to take on new skills to rewire our brain with new neural pathways, starting with beliefs and thoughts, and then into behaviours, and we talked about that last week. However, if this something internal, that's holding us back from employing those, we need to nip it in the bud.
So just as I've been talking about that, what's been coming up for you? Do you hold yourself back? Do you sabotage? Do you have great intention, but then do whatever you can to make sure that you don't get those things done? What I encourage you to do is to have a look deeper into that, and what I want to do is give you a way to do that. I want to give you a process that you can follow that's going to put a few things together that I've been teaching you over the last six or seven weeks so that you can identify the reason for your procrastination.
The first thing that I encourage you to do is to write down a list of the things that you procrastinate over, the thing that are pattern. You continually avoid doing those things. They're things that you've shifted from yesterday's list to today's list over and over again. They don't tend to get done. They're the activities that you always find something else that's more important that needs to be done, just so that you can avoid them. And get those down, identify them, recognise what they are. Now, once you've done that, what I want you to do is go through each of those individually. And I want you to employ that strategy I gave you a few weeks ago where you ask yourself those two questions: For what purpose and at what cost? So, we might have a particular thing on our list. It might be making a phone call to someone and we've been putting it off. We've been procrastinating. We've done whatever we can to justify not getting that done. So ask yourself the question, "Why am I putting that phone call off? For what purpose?" And then whatever that first thing that comes up is, challenge that and go, "Okay, so why is that a problem?", or, "Why am I doing that?", and chunk it down. And as I said a few weeks ago, we go down five levels until we get the real reason. So if that phone call was about an opportunity, I might not be making that phone call because I don't think that I've got what it takes to get that opportunity. I don't think that I deserve that, whatever it is. So, we want to get to the root cause.
Then the second part of the equation, as we learned before, is to then ask the second question and that is, "At what cost?" So, getting clear on what procrastinating or not getting that done is costing you will help you to call it out for what it is. So by not making that phone call for whatever the reason was, it might cost me being able to move into a new level in my coaching practice. It might cost me in a relationship, whatever it is. And then making sure that I chunk down deep enough so that I hit something that hurts, something that is more than just making a noise about pain like the dog sitting on the nail. This is enough for me to get up off the nail, overcome whatever the reasons are for procrastinating, and getting this stuff done. So, step number one is to identify the procrastinators and the real reason why and what it's costing you.
When we do this, we're going to get some data. We're going to get some information around things that are probably holding us back in many areas of our lives. So if it's the old confidence-competence loop, if it's the self-doubt, if it's self-worth issues, all those sorts of things, it's all about going back and building your personal power. And one of the competencies of emotional intelligence that I do the most working with clients all over the world of any gender, any age, doesn't matter what their background is, is personal power. The ability to be able to know that you've got everything within you and around you to do what you need to do to become who you need to be to get the results that you want. So, whereas we might be looking at procrastination as a challenge in productivity or time management, it's way more than that. And when we're able to identify the reason for the procrastination and work on that, then we'll start employing the skills that we already have that help us to get stuff done.
Now that we've done that, I want to give you a little skill that you can employ so that you do actually overcome these key procrastinators and get them done. So, you form a new habit, a new behaviour around, "When those things pop up, I get them done first." Now, one of the things that I learned to do years ago is to make sure that the things that I don't want to do, I get them done first. And then instead of going into those comfort activities, like checking social media or the things that I can justify are helping me, I use those things as a reward for getting those things that I normally procrastinate on done. So when I am using my block time in my calendar, I make sure that first thing in the day, I get those key things that I really don't want to do, they're in there first. And I make sure that things like getting my exercise done, it's ticked off. And I have a strategy where I want to get that done by 8 AM. I'm a very early morning person. I love getting up early in the morning, going for a long walk, getting my head clear, doing my meditation, looking at my gratitude journal, all those sort of things. Get that done first. So although it's not something I really want to do, exercise, I make sure that it's ticked off first.
So, what is it for you? What are the things that you normally move from day to day to day that when you have a look and do a reconciliation of your day of your week, they're always the same things that you don't get done? How about getting them done first thing? How about making sure that you get them out of the way? And to do that, we need to go through that first process of working out why it is that you're procrastinating, why it is that you're holding back from getting those things that deep down you know are going to help you to achieve the results that you want to have.
So, procrastination is not about skill. Procrastination is about purpose. It's about reason. It's about getting clear on why it is that those things are the things that you always put off. What is it for you? Do you feel that by doing those things, you'll get the results that you don't think you deserve? Do you feel that by doing those things, that it will take you down a path of uncertainty? So, make sure that you invest in yourself without procrastinating and set some time aside right now, when you finish listening to this episode, to write those things down. Call them out for what they are, for what purpose at what cost, and then once you've got that, get them in your calendar and make sure they are the things that you do first.
Well, that's it for me for another week. Join me again next week, where we continue the conversation around the things that we can do to become who we need to be, to get the results that we want in 2021 and beyond. And, Hey, if you need some help with this, make sure you check in with me. If you got something out of this, make sure that you subscribe. Make sure that you hit the button on the YouTube, or you make sure that you set it up in your iTunes to get the podcast, whatever it is, because I'm going to continue to just give you this stuff as we go through the year together. Well, I look forward to seeing you next week. You can do this. Procrastination is the thief of your results. It's time for us to move forward. I'll see you then.