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In Personal Agility Workshops, I often get asked, how do know when you are procrastinating? How do you do something about it? Recognizing an issue often the first step to dealing with it. Here are some top warning signs that you are procrastinating! Which of these apply to you?
- Feeling anxious or stressed. You know what you what want and need to be working on, but you’re not doing it. Anxiety is a common result.
- Really busy. You always have a lot to do. For some strange reason, it prevents you from working on that one important thing!
- Easily distracted. Social media, colleagues, emails, and all the interrupts in life and work seem difficult to resist. You open your computer to do something, and suddenly you are lost in the news or the social media.
- Delaying action. Sometimes, it is just hard to get started. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” but tomorrow never comes.”
- Making excuses. “Now isn’t a good time to do it because.…” It is surprisingly easy to talk yourself out of something you don’t want to do.
- Avoiding People and Topics. “I can’t deal with that now. I don’t want to talk about it.” If you keep things hidden from yourself or others, it makes it easy to not see them and not do them.
- Worrying a lot. Whether you spend your time worrying about the possible consequences of not doing the thing (or perhaps even doing the thing), it can be paralyzing.
- Justifying your actions. “I couldn’t do it because…” You need to explain your actions to your colleagues, professor, manager, or family in the hope that they will forgive your lacking.
- Feeling guilty. You know better, so why aren’t you doing what your supposed to? It can be hard to enjoy anything at all.
- Facing real consequences. If you don’t hand in your work, sooner or later, you’ll get a bad grade. If you don’t call the customer, you probably won’t get the business.
Finally, what is your inner voice saying to you? In what tone of voice? Many people are their own harshest critics. They hear themselves, maybe a teacher, their parents, or some family member, saying, “you’re not good enough!” “You’ll never succeed.”
A full answer to this challenge is a subject in the Leadership Development Program with Personal Agility. What can you do today about the Judgmental Inner Voice? Two thoughts:
- You can surely accomplish whatever you are procrastinating on. Don’t worry about water under the bridge! Just do it.
- Join my free meetup, Let’s Beat Procrastination Together, at the Swiss Personal Agility Lean Coffee, every second Tuesday at 8 am CET.
- Whenever you hear that voice, just think to yourself. “That’s not so important now.” That unimportant voice will go away of its own accord!