Six Causes of Procrastination and How To Overcome Them NOW

Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Conscious Living, Manifestation / LOA, Thrive with 1 Comment

| Lifeislimitless

procrastinationProcrastination is the mother of all limitations, the arch enemy of our dreams and the most common complaint I hear from my clients. Most people have big, bold and beautiful dreams, some people even know exactly what they need to do in order to achieve them, but for some, seemingly unknown, reason most people find themselves stuck with an inability to translate intention into action. Having spent many years battling and slaying my own procrastination demons, I’ve managed to work out a thing or two about procrastination. In this post I share the six reasons I believe it strikes and what we can do to overcome it when it does.

1. Overwhelm

This is a tricky one, because in my experience overwhelm often goes hand in hand with excitement. We get so excited about all the great things we could do that we freak ourselves about how much there is to do. I found an analogy for this tendency (of mine) recently and it’s the boiling pot. When I’m lacking motivation, I liken myself to a pan of cold water on a low heat, struggling to get heat up. The temptation is to turn the heat up very high to move things along, but what happens is that the water shoots up in temperature and boils over, so much so that there is a rush to turn the heat right down to reduce the temperature of the water. I realised that this has been my tendency with work, when lacking in motivation, I rev myself up by starting a ton of new things, seeking inspiration at every turn and then bam, I boil over and totally overwhelm myself.


What I’ve realised is going from cool to boiling over and repeating the cycle lands me firmly in the domain of overwhelm and therefore inaction. Instead what I’m aiming for is a slow, gentle simmer, where I can really get cooking! What this means in real terms, is getting things done by taking small but deliberate steps in the direction of my target rather than overwhelming myself with a hundred huge projects or big ideas.

There are several ways to deal with overwhelm and I could probably write a whole post on the topic (note to self!) but here I’ll just mention a few ways to minimise it. One popular technique is to use lists. Get everything you want, need to or have to do out in one long list, purge your brain of all your ideas so that it’s not drowning in possibilities. Then I like to divide my list according to priority. What needs to be done first? What can wait? What’s really important versus what’s nice to have? Then I start to plan out when I’m going to do what. If I feel very overwhelmed, then I use the power of three technique and limit myself to only three tasks that day. This gives you some space to breathe and get things done and once we start ticking things off our list, rather than feel overwhelmed, we start feeling empowered to do more. But remember don’t get too excited and turn the heat up too high!

2. Fear of failing

This is a big one for a lot of people, but many of us don’t even acknowledge it. This is because like many fears, it’s insidious and so we may not even realise we have it. When there is a project that requires some bold action that we consistently fail to take, we might call ourselves lazy or brand it procrastination, but the root of the problem may well be a fear of falling flat on our face. Fear of failing is very powerful, because with it, our sub-conscious mind tells us that if we never try, if we never really put ourselves out there, then we never have to fail. The problem with stopping ourselves from failing is that it also stops us from succeeding and keeps us stuck in a place of inaction.

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

There are a couple of ways you can deal with a fear of failing. First of all you can go there. By that I mean really look at what it would mean to fail. Imagine it in all it’s excruciating detail and then accept it and let it go. Accept that you might fail and know that it won’t kill you. Many of the world’s most successful people failed countless times before they achieved the kind of success that shot them to world-wide fame.

3. Fear of success

This has been a big one for me and sometimes when I mention this one in conversation, people look confused. Because why would someone fear success? Well I’ll tell you. If you have inadvertently attached ideas and beliefs to the idea of success that don’t appeal to you, then deep down you won’t want to succeed.

So for example if, like I have in the past, you lump being successful in with other things like feeling overwhelmed, being too busy, feeling stressed or having to do things you don’t want to do, then everything inside you is going to resist success or sabotage any real attempts to be successful.

Another example could be a fear that being successful might make those around you feel like failures or you fear their judgement and criticism, worrying that they’ll think you’ve become cocky or too big for your boots. If you have this going on, then staying small is going to make perfect sense to your sub-conscious mind.

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  1. kseniya.rivne@gmail.com' Kseniya says:

    One more tip for fight your procrastination – stay focused and choose right project management tool. It depend from your kind of work, but there are some pm tools, that can help everyone, like trello.com, or asana.com, or http://casual.pm (for planning tasks like visual maps or workflows). Find it, use it and keep your things done 🙂

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