3 unexpected reasons you’re procrastinating... and how to stop feeling so guilty
It’s been really great this past month getting to know folks through the strategy sessions they signed up for. The experiences they’ve shared have been inspiring, their successes energizing…and many of their frustrations have really resonated. One, in particular, struck enough of a chord with me that I wanted to share it because I have a feeling many (all?!) of you guys can relate.
I was speaking with a woman who’d left her career as a biologist to write fiction, and she was stressed about how much she procrastinates. She WANTS to write when she sits down at her desk…yet finds herself doing anything but (Facebook, anyone?).
Does this happen to you?
I often hear clients complain about their procrastination habits, which so many equate with laziness, and then it’s only a matter of time before they’re off and running the Self-Flagellation Marathon.
What was interesting about this recent session is that in just one hour we were able to identify some surprising reasons for her procrastination.
Even if this isn't what's going on for you, I hope it will help you stop punishing yourself and maybe be a little more curious about what could be going on.
Here's what we uncovered in our one-hour strategy session:
1. She doesn’t like uncertainty because..
You never know what's going to happen when you start to write or where the story will go.
Are you procrastinating about something you've never done or that requires creative thinking? The unknown can be scary, but it can also be exciting. (That's why we like to go to new restaurants or travel to new places.) Uncertainty can be perceived as something to be feared OR…you can think about it as something novel to be discovered.
- Your fear talking: “What if this sucks?”
- What to say instead: “Let's see, I WONDER how this is going to go!”
2. She was afraid to fail because..
She gave up a big career in science to write fiction. If this doesn't work out, then what?
Often, it’s our Type A personality/perfectionist behavior that prevents us from even getting started. Because we expect it to be great (perfect?) right out of the gate. And if we’re the least bit unsure, then our perfectionism sabotages our ability to start because we can’t risk failure.
- Type A talking: “I don’t know what to write…I’m not ready yet…And I can’t afford the risk of half-assing it.”
- What to say instead: “It’s okay if it’s not perfect at first, I can keep honing it. But better to write something, start somewhere, to take the pressure off.”
3. She was trying to force it because...
She felt so bad about not writing. She chose to create a strict schedule, isolate herself in a room with no internet, no distractions—and force herself to write. This sounded like punishment, not a way to encourage and cultivate creativity.
- Force talking: “I must do this! Now. I can’t leave this room until I’ve written a certain number of pages and been here for a certain number of hours.”
- What to say instead: “Why not create a more pleasurable environment in which to work? Something conducive to creativity and productivity—and include some rewards for myself—favorite snack and timed breaks to go hear my new playlist along the way for more incentive to work!”
Even if you haven’t figured out the REAL reason for your procrastination, at least you're not spending all your time punishing yourself. In fact, even if you’re still procrastinating, try to stop beating yourself up. That alone might be enough to help get you cracking.
Want some help dealing with your own procrastination—or anything else, for that matter? Let’s talk! I’ve made space in my calendar. You can book here!
With much love,