✦ Ending the Procrastination Cycle ✦
I love what I do. But sometimes…. I’ll find myself procrastinating a task. And when I do, there are three questions I ask myself, that I use as a litmus test for what my action steps are.
Using these, I can pretty much always get myself back on track, whether my procrastination is coming from something like some issues with my executive function (and therefore ability to organize without urgency) or whether there’s something deeper going on.
So – let’s break it down. What do I ask myself to end the procrastination cycle?
Question 1 is: Is this task necessary?
It’s simple, but so, deeply important. Not everything we do in our businesses (or our lives) are necessary. Honestly, you might find the things you procrastinate are simply “wishlist” items. Things you kinda feel like you *should* be doing, but you don’t actually NEED to use to grow your business.
How do I tell if a task is necessary? Well the most immediate obvious items that are necessary, are tasks related to packages my clients have purchased. Those are non-negotiable, and they HAVE to happen.
Then, there’s income generating activities – lead generation, managing my communication with my audience, and outreach. Those kinds of tasks are necessary, but… we’re going to get into some more depth on that momentarily.
And following THOSE tasks, are the “Wishlist” items I mentioned. Would doing them be good? Sure, probably, yeah. Why not. But is doing them 100% necessary to the functioning of your business? No. That’s why they’re on the Wishlist.
When you’re thinking about what belongs on the “Wishlist” and what’s on the “Necessary” list… try to look beyond the surface. Remember that there are a million ways to reach goals in your business – there are a million ways to generate leads.
This is the first step – identify the level of necessity associated with what you’re struggling to get started on. This helps us to categorise our tasks. Once we know that, we can move on to question two.
Question 2 is: Is this task something I WANT to do?
This might sound silly – but here’s the thing. When you ask yourself this, actually actively reflect on it. Because… if you’re procrastinating, it may not be because of executive dysfunction – it might be because you simply don’t wanna. You THINK you SHOULD want to, but… you can’t get behind the idea of doing it. Whatever it is, feels too stressful, or too overwhelming, or like it won’t have the results you desire. Or… you might be in that uncomfortable situation where you’ve told yourself that you enjoy something, because in theory, you should. You like the idea of enjoying whatever that thing is.
But liking the idea of enjoying something is not the same as enjoying it.
So ask yourself TRULY, do I want to do this thing?
If the thing is necessary, and you want to do it… that’s our first sign that maybe it’s time to get a tad bit more organized, break the task into digestible chunks, and get down to business. Because if it’s something necessary, that I want to do, but I simply can’t get started, that’s my executive function issues rearing their ugly head. That makes it time to get shit done.
However: If it’s something that’s necessary, and I *don’t* want to do it… that’s a bigger problem.
If something is necessary because it’s a part of a package you’ve signed, but when you ask yourself, truly, if you want to do it, and the answer is no… it’s not time to get organized. It’s time to ask some serious questions about why you’re offering the packages you’re offering.
Because if your goal is to break the cycle, you need to know why it’s happening. And if you don’t DESIRE to do the work that you’ve got on your plate? You’re literally asking for this pattern to repeat itself, over, and over again.
If this is the case, come back to your offerings. Look at your service/product suite. What don’t you want to do? Why? How can you change it so that it’s more aligned with how you desire to spend your time?
If a task is necessary, and you don’t want to do it… then question three can also help a bit!
Question 3 is: Is this task something that I have to do myself?
I know you run your business. You’re the boss. You might be the boss, and the creative, and the copywriter, and the accountant, and the web designer, and the social media manager. And in that situation…. Something has to give. If you’re wearing all of the hats, and you’re finding that there are tasks you don’t want to do, but that are necessary for the growth of your business, it might be time to outsource.
There are, of course, certain tasks in any business that can’t be outsourced. I personally, for example, could not outsource the creation of branding content for my clients. That would be completely against the values of my brand, and what I stand for. My services are bespoke, and I personally create that content for my clients.
My own social media presence, however? Tasks related to that can easily be outsourced to a trusted expert. And when I find myself procrastinating another social media related item (which is necessary, but I don’t want to do it) I hand that off to a trusted assistant.
If the task is necessary, and you don’t want to do it, sometimes you straight up don’t have to. So look at whatever you’re procrastinating, and see whether there is a way to take that item off of your plate, without YOU being the one who sorts it out.
This is also the time to be open-minded. What is the task achieving? If it’s something for your clients, then again: go back to your offerings and evaluate things. If it’s something for your business: is there another way that you can achieve the goal that underlies that task? If you’re looking to generate leads, is there a shift you can make to your strategy that will be more aligned with the way that you want to spend your time?
Forget the Shame
You own a fucking business, babe. You’re killing it. You’re making waves, and doing great things. But that doesn’t mean you have to do ALL the things, ALL the time. And it doesn’t mean you have to lunge after every shiny object that shows up in front of you, and add that shiny thing to your to-do list.
Stop shaming yourself for not doing things you don’t need to do. Stop shaming yourself for not starting that new project, when there isn’t room for a new project on your task list anyway.
Take care of what’s necessary, take care of YOU, and if you notice that you’re falling into procrastination cycles: ask yourself the hard questions.