Procrastination is an evil thing.
The evil aspect about it is that you can often feel like you’re getting things done when really you’re spinning your wheels.
We all seemingly know that procrastination is keeping us from things. We know that it’s bad. We know that we want to avoid it, but still we struggle with it. Maybe not all the time, but often enough to make us feel like a failure.
So this is just meant to help identify some of the ways that procrastination can creep into your life.
1. Big Goals
Do you have big dreams and big goals? Many of us do. They can be good, but they can also cause issues. They cause issues when they give you an excuse to not make progress in your life. It makes us feel good to have big goals. We like talking about them. We may even take the first few steps toward them.
It’s fun to say, for example, that you want to earn a million dollars per year. The thought makes you feel good. But there are a lot of little goals in between to hit before you reach that dollar amount.
Most people should have many, many more small goals than big goals. Goals that are achievable so that you’re moving forward while working toward your big, long-term goals.
2. Lack Of Goals
On the flip side is the issue of not knowing what you want. Some people fall into this trap after they’ve been in the workforce for awhile. They’ve been focused on a certain path. Now they’re not sure if they want to continue. And that’s fine…for awhile. But it can turn into a nasty form of procrastination.
Take a moment to think about what you want in the future. If you can’t answer it, you’re probably procrastinating. No goals makes is almost impossible to progress in life.
3. Quality Obsession
This is a common one. Many successful people have talked about the importance of shipping the product even when it’s not perfect. Heck, Apple shipped the first iPhone when it was barely operational.
Many small business owners or first-time entrepreneurs struggle with this one. They’re scared and as a result they use the excuse of the product “not being perfect” as a way to delay actually getting started.
4. Critical of Others
When you’re busy critiquing others you’re not busy working on progressing in your own life. Being successful requires doing things and then taking the time to reflect and figuring out ways to improve. Successful people rarely worry about others. They’re always looking at themselves and their own performance. They’re trying new things. They’re making little moves and assessing the results.
5. Money Talks
It’s easy to take steps toward something new. Especially in business. But as soon as the time comes to pay the money, it can be scary. Many will pull the plug on a new deal out of fear. Successful people aren’t necessarily spendthrifts, but they aren’t afraid to spend money, try something and figure out if it works as they go. They make moves and learn as they go.
6. Too Busy
This is a big trap. We all know people that are seemingly busy all the time. They are almost proud of the fact that they’re always doing something and always tired and without energy. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re growing or doing what they want in life. In fact, it’s often a form of procrastination.
Most successful people are incredibly disciplined with their time and energy. They don’t take on too much. They know what they want and they do it and they say “no” to the rest. Those that get stuck are often the ones that say “yes” to everything and allow themselves to become too busy.
7. Discomfort Avoidance
Humans don’t like being uncomfortable. But most progress in life comes from the discomfort. My struggle has always been in sales. I have to push myself to do it. To practice. To take calls. I don’t know that it will ever become comfortable for me, but as I look back I can see progress. It’s often an area of procrastination for me that I need to constantly analyze.
8. Mindless Content Consumption
There is a big issue today with seemingly endless amounts of content. Streaming on Netflix. Podcasts. We’re wired to consume all kinds of content. Most of it is mindless entertainment. And that’s fine to a certain point. But it takes away from taking the time to think about life. To think about what we’ve done and what we want to do. If you don’t take time to think about those things it’s not possible to make progress.
9. Deadline Issues
We talked about goals earlier. Another issue with goals is working on something, but never really setting a deadline for yourself. You work on it once in awhile, but you don’t set deadlines for getting certain things done. Or you set deadlines, but come up with some excuse for not finishing it.
10. Micro Management
Small business owners often have this issue. They micro management their team or a certain aspect of their company. Maybe they’re afraid of change. Maybe they’re even afraid of growth. It’s comforting to them to take control and keep the business as it is versus letting someone else take control and possibly find a better way to do things.
11. End of the World
It’s almost a badge of honor in society to be hard on yourself. You heart it in sports all the time. “Nobody is harder on me than myself.” This can be positive, but it can also be negative and really a form of procrastination. Being too negative can keep you in your comfort zone. It keeps your brain from thinking optimistically about the future and can lead to a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Every little thing becomes a huge issue. One mistake cripples your self confidence and you rarely make steps forward.
12. Too Much Learning, Education
You finished high school and you have an idea for a business. But instead you go to college to learn more about business. Now your four years is up and you’re ready to begin, but you convince yourself to get your Masters degree so you’re even more prepared.
Or maybe you’re already in business and you’re ready to expand, but you pay a few thousand dollars for an online course. Then another course. Then a conference.
There are no secrets. Success comes from identifying an opportunity and doing it. Knowledge can only get you so far.
If you’re here then you probably suspect that procrastination is an issue. It is for most of us. Hopefully the items here help you identify what is really holding you back. It’s human nature to want to remain comfortable. But now it’s time to stop consuming this content and take some action.