How to stop procrastinating

When you procrastinate you aren’t avoiding work. You’re avoiding feelings. More specifically, negative emotions

I’ve been mega procrastinating writing these emails and LinkedIn Posts over the past two weeks. And I know why. 

I’m worried I’ve run out of good ideas. 

And this brings up feelings of insecurity, incompetency, fear of failure.

Definitely not my favorite feelings.

Procrastination at its core is about mood regulation. When I avoid the task that brings up negative feelings I can keep my mood in a more stable place by say - organizing my apartment or fixing up my garden.

But chronic procrastination isn’t good for you. It elicits higher levels of stress, poorer quality sleep, you exercise less and eat more junk food. 

So here’s how to get out of your procrastination funk. Examples of how it applies to me in italics:

  1. Identify the task you're procrastinating on. 
    • Marketing (emails and LinkedIn Posts)
  2. Write down all your thoughts about it. 
    • I don’t know what to write about. I don’t feel excited about my content. I’ve used up all my good ideas.  
  3. Write down all your feelings (vibrations in your body) about the task.
    • Tired, worried, insecure, afraid, overwhelmed
  4. Pick one feeling. The one that has the most heat. 
    • Afraid
  5. Identify the thought that most makes you feel this way.
    • I’ve used up all my good ideas
  6. Sit with this thought and feeling. Really immerse yourself in it. Let it wash over you like a wave.
    • I notice that when I sit with it it seems pretty silly. I hear the fear but it’s actually not that scary to feel it because it doesn’t seem that true. This is often the case with negative feelings. Actually experiencing them is much easier and the feeling lasts a fraction of the time compared to resisting them. What you resist, persists!  
  7. Show yourself compassion.
    • It’s ok to have doubts and fears. It’s ok to procrastinate. People who forgive themselves for procrastinating are less likely to do it in the future.
  8. Decide to think something different. Something that makes you feel differently.
    • There are infinite ways to communicate my core ideas.
  9. Write out what to do next. Choose 3 small steps you can take coming from your new mindset.
    1. Re-read my coaching philosophy and process documents
    2. Make edits and updates to documents where I notice opportunities to do so
    3. Write 1 post for each category of my process
  10. Block time on your calendar to do each step. 


PS. When you’re thinking about the next step in your career it’s going to inevitably elicit loads of negative feelings. This is normal. I teach my clients how to manage these feelings and focus on different thoughts so that you can re-design your career with confidence, intention, curiosity and even - fun. When you learn how to think and feel on purpose, you can create any result you want in your life. This is a fundamental lever of career success and happiness. Schedule a Strategy Session to learn how.