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Procrastination As A Diagnosis Tool

high performance productivity psychology well-being Apr 04, 2021
 

Procrastination sometimes feels like a dirty word.  High Performers use procrastination as a warning light to diagnose and act on why they are not focuses.

Not doing what you know you need to do?

Procrastination comes in many shapes and sizes. Not clear on the next steps on a work project, do something else until it's almost due. Feeling exhausted? Just one show on Netflix turns into a 3-day LOST bender. Feeling unconfident? You don't ask the cute person at the coffee shop for a cup of coffee.

High performers sometimes beat themselves up for procrastinating. They get frustrated with themselves or with their teams when they are not getting the results they want. But it's essential to know WHY the work keeps getting put off to diagnose what's going on so you can address it effectively.

It's the difference between being successful or not. It's the difference between realizing you might be close to burnout, or changing trajectory before it's a problem. So think of procrastination as a warning light that needs attention, not a character flaw.

We sometimes emphasize work so much that we don't ask the question, "what does success look like in my life?" 

In high performance coaching, we define success as beating what's normal in your life without destroying your relationships and health. So when you push off work, is it to do something healthy and restorative or to spend time with people you love? When does self-care become negative?  What's going on?  What usually causes procrastination?

It's a lack of clarity - When we don't feel certain in our next steps, we are more easily distracted.

It's a lack of energy - When we feel emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually exhausted, we seek comfort instead of having motivation to push ourselves. 

It's lack of confidence - When we think we might fail, lose face, lose something we value, or we are not capable, we avoid the chance we might have to handle pain to advance.

It's a lack of focus - When we have too many good ideas, coupled with energy, we can sometimes have FOMO and try to do everything at once, diluting our ability to gain traction on one idea.

It's a lack of necessity - Sometimes if we don't have an immediate need or deadline to meet, we devalue the things that would advance our goals in the near-term.

It's different for each person, and it's usually at least one of these points that are at work.  The best way to keep momentum is to have planned time each day/week to focus and progress your success.

Here are five ideas to help you use procrastination as a tool, not a bad feeling

  1. Make sure you have daily time for your #1 work priority on your calendar
  2. Make sure you have daily, healthy restorative activities on your calendar
  3. Make sure you have daily, fun social activities on your calendar
  4. Make sure you have weekly check-in's on how successful you are each week, in terms of your career, health, relationships, and well-being.
  5. Make sure you have weekly reflections on how to be more holistically successful. 

Procrastination can be a helpful tool to increase your success. It can help you diagnose areas that can help your productivity over the long term if you listen.

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