It's not possible to conquer procrastination forever until we get in our gut why we do it. There are only two root causes. When we procrastinate over doing something that we say we want to do, it’s because of one of two things.
- We really don’t want to do it – we like the idea of it, but we are not all that committed to make the idea come to life.
- We are not yet mature enough to live each day conscious of our death.
I’ve been working with entrepreneurs for over a decade now. Conquering procrastination has been the deal breaker for more than one person who said one thing, but did another. In every single case, the reason for “never getting around to it” was one of the two reasons above.
The second reason, not yet being fully conscious of one's own death, is the subtler yet deeper reason that we procrastinate. When we live as if we have forever, we are far more apt to spend time meeting other’s expectations of us than we might otherwise be.
As we gain wisdom and perspective, we see that we don’t have a golden forever of tomorrows. All the things we do that allow us to procrastinate become irrelevant and superfluous, and they begin to fall away. There is only this moment, and the next moment, and we are not willing to waste those moments any longer.
Conquering Procrastination Means Gaining Intense Focus
When I meet an entrepreneur who almost seems abrupt because of her intense focus, I know I’ve met someone who truly gets the value of her life. She has conquered procrastination, and has a deep acceptance of the fact that she doesn’t have forever. Consequently, she stays focused. She no longer lives from an immature perspective that she has next year to do what’s in her mind to do.
As I talk to clients and colleagues, I see how so many of us keep putting off doing the one thing that would create what we dream of. We put it off until the dream dies, bludgeoned by everything else always coming first, by fake busy-work, by fears of stepping up. We let the small things cloud and obscure the big things that are in our hearts to do. We doubt, and we fear, and we make a thousand silly excuses.
Six Telltale Signs of Procrastination
I call living fully into what we most want “loving without ceasing.” By that I mean that we have to give ourselves over to what we want, make it our singular focus, melt ourselves into it. But if you procrastinate, you are:
- Picking safety over your dream.
- Pleasing other people first over your dream.
- Meeting everyone else's expectations over your dream.
- Making excuses that your dream is not as important as whatever you are doing now.
- Thinking that “one day” will work.
- Believing that you are being selfish when you say “no” to someone so that you can love your dream.
The bottom line? You don’t love your dream without ceasing, committing yourself to actions that make it real.
I’ve sat with dozens of procrastinators, entrepreneurs whose time has run out for getting what they wanted. They are broke, or too tired, or they missed the timing of their great idea. It’s painful for procrastinators when they finally get that they put things off one too many times.
3 Ways to Conquer Procrastination
- Whatever you are setting out to do, love it without ceasing. Put your energy and your essence into it. Melt into it, become such a force for it that there is no way it won't happen. Love it now, before events happen that prevent you from ever picking it up again.
- If you find that you never quite get around to what you talk about or dream about, give yourself the gift of complete self-honesty. Ask yourself two things. Do I really want to do this, or am I just in love with the idea of it? And do I put things off, thinking that there will always be tomorrow? Have I deeply taken in that each day I am moving toward my own death? Do I still have a child’s perspective about death?
- Get an outsider’s perspective (if you are willing to be completely honest with yourself and the outsider). That person will see things you don’t see and help you out of your trap.
Let's live each and every day fully conscious that we are finite here on earth. When we truly take in that truth we suddenly want to give much more intention and action into each day. That's what creates your particular dream. You give it life by loving it without ceasing.
Conquer your procrastination by sitting with those two questions above. Whatever your dream is, drink it in fully, become it. Be wise enough to know that one day you will be called to let it go. You will be stripped of what you believed would last forever.
Live your life in the moment, fully. Otherwise, you will spend a good portion of your life grieving the losses. We grieve in part because we know we never really, fully had it the way we wanted it. When you conquer procrastination you will avoid ever coming to that painful realization, and you be a resounding success in business and in life.
Conquering procrastination takes clarity and vision. If you would like help getting crystal clear about who you are and what you want to do in life, I invite you to schedule an hour with me. We’ll get a start toward clarity about what you truly want.
Do you have tips to conquer procrastination? Please add them in the comment section below. Thanks!