During an initial coaching session, I asked a client to share his past successes and challenges. Despite the success of becoming a doctor and owning his own practice, he stated, “One challenge is that I’m a procrastinator so it’s hard for me to get started.” As we unpacked the behaviors he associated with being a procrastinator, my client discovered his mindset was limiting his freedom to act differently. Rather than making a decision to act differently, he was mindlessly repeating behaviors that derailed his ability to be effective: hitting the snooze button; arriving late to work; and starting on a project the day before it’s due. As a result of his mindset, he associated his behaviors with his identity of being a procrastinator, which meant he wasn’t able to get things done easily.
Behavior is the way one acts in response to another person, group, or environment. When a behavior is repeated regularly, the brain adopts this pattern as an automatic response. For this reason, no matter how experienced or accomplished my client became, his behaviors continued to prevent him from getting what he wanted. The good news is that procrastination is "a practice" or a learned behavior. This means that once you are aware of your mindset, a new space opens up for you to act differently. As soon as my client changed his mindset from, “I am a procrastinator,” to “I am choosing behaviors that allow me to procrastinate,” he was free to do something different. Remember, you always have a choice to do or not do, but your life is much more workable when you make the decision to take action so procrastination can't control your life.
Take the Action Challenge to stop letting your behaviors control you:
Pay attention to the behaviors that might trigger procrastination.
Get an accountability partner to alert you if your behaviors are limiting you.
Create a different mindset - Don't let your mind bully you into thinking you can’t GET $H!T DONE. Coach yourself, as if you were talking to one of your friends or a colleague by saying things like: I am passionate about doing hard things. Doing small tasks every day makes it easier to complete the project. I want to relax while I watch TV so I need to get started now.
Has procrastination ever derailed your efforts to produce results? I’d love to know: Leave a comment here and let me know. I urge you to join us in the comments because taking the Action Challenge in this post will add so much freedom and workability to your life.
Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues. They'll thank you for increasing their awareness of how to choose behaviors that make their life more workable. Note: This blog is just a suggestion and not a replacement for coaching.