It was a beautiful sunny day, several years ago, when a new client, Serena floated into my office. She had a buoyant energy and her smile lit up the room. She glided across the space and sat down in the chair, almost as if it had offered her a royal invitation.
I began, “It’s so nice to meet you, how can I help you today?”
Within in a split second her cheerful demeanor dramatically shifted, “I’m going to be fired, she blurted out. Then with mix of embarrassment and frustration, she added "I’m terrible at my job."
“Oh, I’m curious, what makes you so terrible at your job?” I asked gently
“I can’t ever get things done on time, I’m a chronic procrastinator.” she declared with absolutism. Then without skipping a beat, she named all the reasons why this was “terrible” and how it has “always” been a problem that she could “never” change. She wasn’t even sure why she was here, she was “unfixable”.
“Is that it?” I said smiling and then assured her I had never met anyone who was unfixable. “I wonder, is there any part of your job that you are good at?”
Surprised by the question, she replied “Uh, I guess I’m good with people. I’m very organized. I think the little work I do finish is good….at least that’s what they say”.
“Ahhh.” I responded, “So you actually aren’t terrible at your job, in fact, it sounds like you are good at it. You might just have a terrible habit, and that is definitely fixable.”
PROCRASTINATION. The act of delaying that which needs to be completed.
I think most of us have dealt with that challenge at some point. Even some animals like pigeons and monkeys have been found to procrastinate! (by the way, that isn’t meant to give you an extra excuse;-)
However, the danger, is that it can lead to damaging feelings of guilt, shame, and the belief that “we” are bad or incapable when really it is just what we are “doing.”
Great news…..drum roll…..there is a solution!
Piers Steel, PH.D. is one of the world’s leading researchers on the science of motivation and procrastination. After years of meta- analysis, he concluded there was a Procrastination Equation that consisted of 4 major components. By understanding what part(s) are driving our angst and delays, we are better able to overcome them.
The Procrastination Equation is: Expectancy x Value/ Impulsiveness x Delay
Let’s break that down.
Bottom line: We want the top number, expectancy x value to be high and bottom number, impulsiveness x delay to be much lower.
If your stomach is knotting up because you are realizing that you struggle with all of these?? Fear not, below are 15 simple strategies to address different parts of the equation, so you can make it work for you instead of against you.
Expectancy: I have found this is the most common obstacle in the equation. People procrastinate when the results they expect are very low OR they are perfectionists and have already set themselves up to fail. (because they know, they will never be perfect.) Hmm does that sound like anyone you know? :-)
Value: We all have things we have to do that we may not enjoy or expect to be wildly outstanding. So ideally center your life around things that do have more value and when necessary, try this:
And then celebrate. Do a happy dance, sing, call a friend, give yourself a healthy reward. Do what it takes to make it fun, empowering and to highlight the fact that YOU CAN DO IT!
PS. My client Serena implemented these solutions. She particularly worked on scheduling time blocks, releasing perfectionism, and expecting greater results. I’m happy to say, she not only didn’t get fired, but 8 months later, she was promoted!!!
PPS. If YOU are struggling with procrastination and want to change this pattern once and for all. I have 2 spots open RIGHT NOW. If you want to identify the 3 things holding you back and the one thing that will move you forward, email[email protected] to get started!
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