The inspiring Mel Robbins, author of The Five-Second Rule, once said, “You’re not a procrastinator, you have a habit of procrastinating.” She called procrastination “a form of stress relief.” How is that possible? Doesn’t procrastinating ultimately make you more stressed? Well, our brains do all kinds of crazy shit, so let’s have a no-BS chat about procrastinating. Not tomorrow. Right now.
Truth be told, I have always had a dirty little habit of procrastinating, but only in certain parts of my life. For example, Casa Da Babine is always clean. The dishes are always done, the floors so sanitized you could eat off of them, beds are always made military style, the laundry is always washed, dried and folded to perfection in a Marie-Kondo-style sock-soldier situation, yet there are other parts of my life that are not so tidy. These are the life corners where I let dust, dirt, and grime build up, which is the exact opposite of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I finally put off figuring out why I let this crap happen. For me—and maybe you can relate—it comes down to the F word. Not that one. The other F word—Fear. I realized that I clean like a Portuguese housewife from the 1700s because I can see the fruit of my labors in an instant. There is also not much risk in tackling the clutter. The house is messy, dusty, or out of sorts in the morning and a little while later, it’s sparkling like the top of the Chrysler Building. That quick return on my investment of time is pretty rewarding. I’m also good at cleaning and there is no abrasive barrier that makes me have to talk to people who may waste my time. Even better, I don’t have to put a bra on or even leave my house, or do something mind-sucking like strategize the launch of the next big thing I am attempting to create.
That’s the stuff I put off—creating my next online course, finish that book I’ve been writing, hiring an attorney to update my will…the list of things that wait on me to get my ass in gear is long. I keep putting those things on the back burner because deep down I’m afraid of failing and being judged. Fear—that’s what’s holding me back and holding you back from getting things done.
Stress, as we all know, is a fear-based reaction. So by procrastinating, we reduce the stress AKA the fear of failure. If you peel that spiritual onion, you’ll see that it’s about more than just failure. It’s things like not feeling like we are enough. Or worrying that someone is judging us, so we want to numb out and avoid. Instead of writing your book you watch cat videos all day. Instead of looking online for a great attorney who specializes in will writing, we scroll Facebook for an hour. Instead of creating the course we watch a marathon of Schitt’s Creek. Then the workload multiplies in the absence of your attention, and your stress multiplies—rinse and repeat.
This is why people throw in the towel and why 98% of the world is being run by the 2% who actually do what they set out to do, no matter the price they have to pay to ride the ride. Does this sound familiar? Are you wishing you were part of that 2%? If so, don’t worry. I’ve got your back.
Today I am going to give you five real-life tools that you can implement to stop being a habitual procrastinator. Stop sitting around, bingeing and delaying. Take life by the balls and achieve all of your hopes, dreams, and loftiest goals.
Stop Hiding Behind Your Fear
The truth shall set you free is a cliché because it’s true. You need to take that fear out into the open and face it. State your fear out loud, or write it in your journal, just name the real reason you are struggling with this issue. Once you know the true fear behind your procrastinating, you can start solidifying your plan to tackle that fear. You are only as sick as your secrets. Let it out so you can step into your most powerful and non-procrastinating self.
Chunk it Down
This sounds so gross, and I love animals, but there is an old adage that says “the only way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time.” Sometimes the reason we procrastinate is because the goal we are trying to achieve seems just too damned big (or all the steps to get there feel huge). All that giganticness overwhelms us and we retreat into a Netflix and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos marathon. Break the task into chunks, and tackle one at a time. As those chunks add up, all of a sudden the thing you have been wasting your time worrying about will start to gain momentum. “Take the first step in faith,” Martin Luther King, Jr. once said. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Eliminate Your Pitfalls
If you skipped number one, go back and do it now. I’ll wait. Now that you know your fears, it’s time to figure out the pitfalls and sinkholes that get in your way. When you feel stressed, what do you do? Watch Netflix, scroll mindlessly through social media, clean every closet in the house, text with a friend? Whatever is your avoidance technique du jour, knowing it can help you work on stopping the stress-induced behavior. How? If social media or texts are your stress jam, disable the notifications and dings so you don’t get distracted. Schedule your scrolling or TV watching and use it as a reward. It will take time to make the mental switch, but keep at it and it will happen. Changing your old behaviors and replacing them with new ones will ultimately make you feel Ambitchious AF!
Get an Accountability “Bitch”
Having a friend or colleague who is on your level can make the entire process of not only creating but also reaching your goal a whole lot more fun and enjoyable. Ideally your accountability bitch should have goals as well, hopefully similar in terms of reach and depth. Schedule time during the day to chat about what you both have accomplished. Work together to set attainable yet concrete deadlines. Set rewards for reaching those deadlines, and celebrate together (or nudge each other when needed). Sometimes when we are left to our own devices we end up areolas-deep in fainting goat videos on YouTube instead of reaching for the stars.
Talk to a BTDT Bitch
So many people I know or speak to think having outside coaching is a waste of time and money. That’s a copout. I have achieved many incredible things in my life, and to the surprise of many people, I have worked with several different coaches, mentors, and advisors to achieve those goals. These people have been where I am and are sitting where I want to be. It makes sense to call on their expertise and advice. There is no shame in your game if you hire someone to mentor you. That’s smart. What’s sad is not accomplishing the things we set out to do.
Now use all that you learned above, and get your booty off the couch. Get in the shower, get dressed, and get ready to take on the world! Just writing this has me fired up to tackle the next thing on my list—instead of dusting the same shelf yet again.