July 2016 
          Vol 9, Issue 6                   
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter
Ok, I admit it. I have a procrastination habit. I have had it all my life.

My mom used to say that the family dog never got more attention than when I had to study for an exam. Though I often try and convince myself that I work best under pressure, I have a nagging feeling that perhaps another system might be more efficient...or perhaps less stressful?

Read my feature article below to discover what we can all easily do to break our procrastination habits.
 jan signature  

Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC 
 Professional Certified Executive Coach     
 Creative Coaching Group e:jan@creativecoachinggroup.com  
Feature Article: How to Beat Procrastination (Right Now!)   
Procrastination is a behavior that can wreak havoc on every aspect of our lives. It starts with the little things - grabbing a cup of coffee instead of returning a call...or cleaning out our inboxes instead of getting started on a new, and perhaps daunting project. Before we know it, we're not getting the things done that really matter.
We procrastinate about things we don't want to do like studying for an exam or making an appointment for a dental checkup. Surprisingly though, procrastination also gets in the way of our achieving something that we really do want - like making the phone call to the real estate agent to start looking in earnest for our new home, or redoing our resume so we can apply for a job that we really would like to get.
The effects of procrastination are generally not good. We can feel anything from guilt to self-recrimination or even failure. So much time can be wasted procrastinating that we miss out on opportunities. The space those negative thoughts take up in our mind get in the way of our moving forward.
Now there are times that not acting immediately is the best course of action. When you don't have enough information to make the optimal decision, when your emotions or someone elses are flaring, or when something feels uncertain in your gut, it may signal that it's time to take a step back and wait.  
You don't have a plan. You have a bunch of stuff to do, but no clear path or direction to doing it. You haven't yet prioritized what is important so it isn't 100% clear what the next step is... so you check Facebook... again. An hour goes by.
Solution: Get clear and focused. Make a To Do list, prioritize it and note the time required to complete each item. Click here for the pdf download of my tool, the CLD LIST(Critical, Like to Do, Defer) to help your prioritize. If the amount of time you need to complete your list adds up to more than a human lifetime, you will have to accept the fact that you are mortal, and make some hard choices about what is most important to you.
The job seems so big that you don't even know how to start so you go into avoidance/denial mode by putting it to the side and not dealing with it. Or you delay by justifying "It's too big to tackle right now, I'll do it on the weekend when I have more time."
Solution: Q/ How do you eat an elephant? A/ One bite at a time. You need to experience success by creating some momentum. Break the monster task down into smaller, doable steps. When you've accomplished the bite sized tasks, you will gain both the confidence and drive to move on to the next. If the task seems so big that even getting started is hard then set a designated time slot in the day to work on the task with a time limit of say 30 minutes. When the time is up, you are done for the day. As they say, "beginning is half done."
Your task list is undefined and contains things like "read more books" or, "take better care of myself" so no immediate action is apparent or obvious. Other than a vague desire to get something done to make a change you haven't clarified it enough to be able to successfully take action.
Solution: Add specifics. A plan has measurables. Add some numbers and dates. E.g. / How many books do you want to read, by when? Or - What does taking better care of yourself mean? (Eating more vegetables.) Ok, how many per day? Starting when?
Perhaps you have a fear or worry that a task will be unpleasant or uncomfortable. Maybe you have to make a phone call to someone to talk about something sensitive and you are not sure what their reaction might be, or give some feedback to an employee, or deal with an email that is contentious. You have awfulized the task, procrastinated and that has paralyzed you.
Solution: Your negative reasons for delaying action may be imaginary. How will you find out if you don't act? Lack of communication often turns molehills into mountains and your delaying could actually be exacerbating the problem.  
If you fear the consequences associated with the action you've been avoiding, ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that could happen if I did this today?" The worst case scenario most likely would be a minor inconvenience or temporary setback (compared to the direconsequences we imagined). Is the worst case scenario a better option than the best case scenario of doing that unpleasant task?  Weigh your actions accordingly. 
This procrastination comes from a fear that if you act, things WILL change. You fear the change and a result that could be success or failure. You may not know which. You may be stretched past your comfort zone. So you put off the change....
Solution: Reconnect with your vision and your reason for wanting to do that thing in the first place. How important is this to you? Is it your dream or someone else's? If you never do it or attempt to do it how you will feel lying on your death bed? Let that connection give you courage.
Procrastination can rear up when something is so important that you want to do it perfectly. Maybe you say "I don't have time to do it properly right now so I will put it off" or "I need more time to do it right so I won't even start it" or "I don't have all of the information gathered yet so I can't write the report" etc.  
Solution: It is so important to let go of the crippling pressure of 'perfecto'. What counts is quality of effort - not perfect results. Don't let yourself get bogged down with a preoccupation for perfectionism or use that as an excuse to procrastinate.   Imperfect action is better than Perfect Inaction.
You get distracted, or sidelined by other (more enjoyable) activities, the bright, shiny object syndrome. You aren't really consciously procrastinating, you just get caught up with other things and suddenly whoosh the day is gone.  
Solution: Focus on the benefits of getting the job done. Visualize yourself having completed your goal, and imagine the sense of accomplishment you will feel. Connect with your vision. Reward yourself AFTER you get it done (not before). In fact, as incentive for action decide on your reward in advance.
Ok, sometimes we procrastinate because there's something that we really just don't want to do.
Solution: Decide if it's important or necessary. If it is neither, scratch it off your list.
If it is, can someone else do it or help you with it? If so, ask them.
If not, and it is a necessary task that only you can do, you are going to have to employ one of the other strategies. Parcel it down. etc. Reward yourself when it's done.
"Procrastination is your enemy. Fear is its ammunition. Paralysis is its goal"
                                                                                            - anonymous
Ultimately, the bottom line is ....
For the thing on which procrastinate is the thing that has all the power. Only by addressing what you are procrastinating about will you move forward. Do it or abandon it - but you have to deal with it. Vividly imagine a picture of how you will feel if you complete that task you are procrastinating about. (e.g. / freedom from anxiety, confidence, a boost of energy, a cleared head etc).
Hold to that vision and go to it, one step at a time.

Lightbulb of the Month
blue bulb
Do the thing and you will have the power."
                                              - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and clarify their vision and leverage their signature strengths to open possibilities and maximize their performance potential.  

3rd edition of Jan's book  

Jan's book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and is now in its 3rd printing. Her second book, Finding your Overtone, will be released in 2016.    


Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program, a Professional Mentor coach and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory .    


Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide. PCC logo

Contact Jan email: jan@creativecoachinggroup.com     

Quick Links
Jan' Coaching Company Creative Coaching Group
Jan's work with BarbershoppersInner Coach of Barbershop
Jan's popular bookHarmony From the Inside Out
Jan's new book (to be released 2016)  PRE-SALES: Finding Your Overtone 
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