We’ve all been there: we’ve vowed to start that diet – tomorrow! – and then continued chowing down on a salted caramel brownie. Or pronounced that we want to go back to the gym – next week! – and then vegged out on the couch watching Netflix the rest of the week. In the same way, you may have told yourself that you’ll think about starting that business, and quitting your job – next year!
It’s easy to commit to something that you think you want… but how do you stop procrastinating and finally start taking action?
The different forms of procrastination
First, let’s consider what procrastination looks like when it comes to a big career change. Do any of these sound familiar?
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- You tell yourself, “I’ll do it when… [fill in the blank: I’ve got my next promotion or salary increase / I’ve saved more money / I’ve had children / my children have grown up / etc]” and in the meantime do very little to change your situation
- You launch into planning, conscientiously evaluating the pros and cons, seeking more and more complete information and staying stuck there in ‘analysis paralysis’
- You commit to this time being different and you’ll definitely do something to change your situation – but then nothing happens
- You are taking action but in a very haphazard and scattergun way, keeping busy but not making any real progress in one specific direction
Clearly, any and all of these scenarios are frustrating – both because you won’t be making any progress as a result, and you’ll be staying stuck where you are, and that disconnect between where you are and where you want to be is painful; and because you’re effectively lying to yourself, to the point that you (subconsciously at least) stop believing that you will do anything different, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of not doing anything and therefore not getting any results.
What’s going on when you procrastinate?
Whatever the form it takes, ‘procrastination’ has almost become an acceptable excuse, as if putting a label on it justifies why you haven’t done anything. But really that label, and excuse, is hiding all manner of sins.
Procrastination might mean that…
- You don’t know what you want, so you’re not genuinely motivated to take action
- You secretly don’t want to take action, because of one or more of those fears we’ve been talking about
- You’re relying on your rational mind to make a decision that ultimately needs to be made with your gut (your heart, your intuition, or whatever you want to call it!)
- You’re not sure how to get started, so you don’t know what action you’re supposed to be taking
Understanding the reasons behind your particular form of procrastination will help you silence your inner excuses and finally take decisive action.
How to stop procrastinating
If any of these scenarios sounds familiar, then fear not! There is hope. The first step is recognising that you are procrastinating and resolving to no longer use that as an excuse. Done!
Then, depending on which of the situations, or reasons for procrastinating, applies to you, there will be a different solution:
- You need to spend time reflecting on your reasons for wanting to quit your job, and exploring what some of the different alternatives might be
- You need to address your fears head on, considering what the worst-case scenario might be and how to manage the risk and the possible ramifications
- You need to ‘get out of your head’ and start listening to what you know, deep down, is the right answer
- You need to get the help and guidance you require in order to get started and focus your time, energy and money on the right priorities
Ultimately, the key to stop procrastinating really is as easy as resolving to make a change – and then actually taking some kind of action to get unstuck and moving.
If you’re looking to do just that, determined now to take action, then this is the perfect opportunity! Join us in the upcoming 9-to-5 Escape Plan workshop over in the Facebook group. It’s a free 5-day workshop during which I’ll help you pinpoint what’s holding you back and start working on a solution that will get you out of your comfort zone and into a place of inspiration, learning – and action.