Hi everyone! Welcome to the podcast. I am so happy you are here.
If I had to tag any one episode as one of my favorites it would be this one. This topic. Because today we are talking about solving for something that can derail not just your productivity, but also your state of peace. Today we are talking about overcoming procrastination.
To get us started I would like to begin with my belief that all procrastination starts with a thought.
The root cause of procrastination is a thought.
It could be a thought as simple as "I am hungry". That thought can trigger a whole series of thoughts and actions that can divert you down a path you had no intention of going.
I know this might be incredibly obvious to some of you and a real oversimplification to others, but if you'll bear with me for just a few moments, I'd like to explore this idea with you because I believe that when we reveal the root cause to ourselves, we also reveal the solution.
On the surface, procrastination might look like watching tv or scrolling on social media. If you were to watch someone procrastinating, they are actually DOING something, even if it is just laying on the couch. However, it might also be more subtle than that.
It might look like answering emails instead of working on a presentation that is due tomorrow.
It might be cleaning out your desk instead of working.
It might be attending to your family instead of doing self-care.
Procrastination doesn't look the same from the outside, but it always has the same result. The result is that we didn't get done what we had intended to get done. That's why watching tv could be procrastination OR it could be entertainment. It really depends on the intention. The intention is simply the plan. So if we are not doing what we had planned to do, then for the purposes of this episode, we could define that as procrastination.
The question then becomes, why do we sometimes not do what we had planned to do? Or conversely, why did we do something that wasn't on the plan? This is where it all comes down to that root cause thought. That thought that appears and triggers all of the activities when it comes time to do the thing that we had intended to do. That thought creates a feeling and a decision.
It might be a conscious thought, like "I'll do that tomorrow" or it might be a thought that is just below the level of consciousness and so subtle that you're not even aware that you deviated from your plan until you find yourself cleaning out your desk or looking up from social media wondering how much time has gone by.
So the real trick to overcoming procrastination is identifying that thought. Slowing down the moment enough to notice what that root cause thought is that is taking you in a different direction.
I know from experience that these thoughts can be a bit slippery. What I mean by that is that they can sound like logic but they are really a justification or a rationalization.
For example, "I don't have time to do this right now" is a thought that sounds very logical and reasonable. Another example might be, "this thing that just arrived in my inbox is way more important than what I had planned".
That's ok! Just noticing the thoughts that come up when it's time to do the thing on your plan is really half the battle in overcoming procrastination.
Once you've noticed the thought, that's when you can modify the behavior of procrastination if you should want to. The reason why is that you get to choose which thoughts you want to pay attention to and which thoughts you want to just notice in passing.
This is a very powerful place to be. Even if you've identified as a procrastinator your whole life, you still have a choice in which thoughts you want to pay attention to and which thoughts you want to let drift on by.
However, the first stage is just noticing the thoughts. You can't let go of the thoughts that you don't first notice. The reason that we forget that we have a choice is because we aren’t always aware of our thoughts. Seeing those root cause thoughts is the basis of all behavior change. It is also the foundation of my coaching program. The program is titled “Your Next $30k” and it is designed for women in business.
Whether you are currently making $30k in 6 months or a year in your business, the objective of this program is to accelerate this time line. And the way that we do that is by looking at the areas where you are procrastinating in your business. Whether it's finances, marketing, sales, or even product delivery, when we change those root cause thoughts that are you holding you back, THEN you can start to focus on what’s most important in your business.
Procrastinating thoughts pretend to be necessary. They feel compelling. However, procrastinating thoughts are also the number one reason your business isn’t progressing as fast as you would like to. As I mentioned earlier, those procrastinating thoughts can feel important and logical, but they’re really just distractions. Distracting you from taking action on the value-add activities in your business.
For my long-time listeners, you know that I like to offer strategies to help you take these concepts, these ideas, and make it practical and applicable to your own life. So today, I want to share one of my favorite ways to identify root cause thoughts of procrastination. I call it the Daily Plan Experiment. To try this experiment for yourself, you will create a plan for tomorrow. Include whatever you like in the plan. Include work activities, focus time, leisure activities, breaks, whatever you want. The activity really doesn’t matter.
The key is to assign a start time to each activity. So it might look something like, at 11am I’m gonna go to the gym, at 12pm I am going to eat lunch, at 1pm I will work on my podcast, and at 3pm I’m gonna go pick up the kids.
It's not so important what you include in the plan, the important part for this experiment is identifying the transition times. Then, the next day, set an alarm for each transition time. When the alarm goes off to signal the transition, notice and write down the thoughts you are having about the next activity.
You don't have to do anything different during the experiment than you normally would, you simply want to notice and save those thoughts for your thought work that will come later.
I've done this experiment for myself and for my clients several times. It is always so interesting what thoughts are captured at those transition times. I would love to hear what is coming up for you. If you want to share, send me an email at Kim@FinancialWellnessCoach.ca.
Once you have identified the thoughts, here’s where the powerful work comes in. I like to first understand what result the existing default thoughts are creating for me. What result are they creating? I have a clarity tool that can help you to map the results back to your original default thought. If you would like more information for that I offer it in my free strategy session. You can find the sign-up link on my website FinancialWellnessCoach.ca.
In short form, the tool helps me to understand whether that thought serves me, in terms of getting stuff done, or does that thought limit me or derail me somehow. Looking at those thoughts in hindsight is a very powerful exercise because it can help you to see them more clearly when they pop up in the moment the next time. That then enables you to have that freedom of choice in terms of which thoughts you want to keep and which thoughts you want to let drift on by.
I have used this experiment to help me overcome procrastination in so many different areas of my life, that I wanted to share it here with you today. Thanks for joining me here today everyone and I hope you have a powerful and productive week. Take care!
Are you looking for a coach who will help you increase your business profit while protecting your time and your well-being? If so, I'll invite you to check out my website, FinancialWellnessCoach.ca.