Procrastination | How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and (Actually) Get Stuff Done!
This video is the third episode of my three-part series dedicated to helping you live your very best life.
- Part 1 | THE ONE THING WE CAN ALL DO TODAY TO ENSURE 2021 IS OUR VERY BEST YEAR. To watch the video click HERE.
- Part 2 | HOW TO SET GOALS AND ACTUALLY ACHIEVE THEM. To watch the video click HERE.
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Below is the full transcript of Secrets To Prototype Success. Please note in this episode Marcy is speaking extemporaneously – she is unscripted and unedited.
Today I'm talking about procrastination and I'm incredibly passionate about this subject because as much as we like to make light of it at times, the truth is that it can be incredibly destructive in people's lives, including my own. So today I'm going to uncover not only why we all procrastinate and the truth is we all do in some way, shape or form.
But I'm also going to give you four actionable things that you can do today to stop the cycle of procrastination. Start living your very best life and start living life to your fullest potential. So why do we all do it? Why? I have a son in college. I have kids in high school. Why do they wait until the night before the test to cram and hope for the best?
Why do we wait until the night before we have to get into a bikini to starve ourselves so that we'll look good the next day? Why? This is probably my favorite example. Why do the Lakers wait until there's one, maybe two minutes left in the fourth quarter before they really start playing all out? Why do they do it?
Why do we all do it? But the truth is any time there's a deadline, It seems like we procrastinate because we know there's a finish line and we just wait till we get right up to that finish line before we take action and do what we know we need to do and we know inevitably we will do it, but we wait until we're at that finish line.
But what's worse is when there isn't a deadline because then it never gets done. So you can have something that you really want to do or you, you really know you need to do, but if there's no deadline and there's no time limit around it, then it doesn't get done. And that's so much more destructive because that can, you know, we can lose our self confidence.
We can start to have regrets about what we didn't get done. And, you know, we can even get. depressed about it. So it's really important for us to be on the lookout for those things. So good examples would be maybe you wanted to start a business. You've been talking about it for years. You know it's something you want to do.
Or maybe it's a bad relationship you're in, a dysfunctional relationship that you know you need to get out of, but it's just so much easier just to not deal with it. Or maybe it's something as broad as wanting to get healthier. The problem with that kind of procrastination is because it can go on for years and years and years.
And every day you're faced with knowing that you didn't do it and you lose your confidence and you start to feel guilty or regretful. And I think we can even get depressed around that kind of procrastination. So it's something that we need to look at and I'm hopeful that the action items that I'm going to give you today are going to help you to conquer both the kind that come with the deadline and the kind that don't because they're both really, really important.
So let's dive in. So knowing that I was going to be talking about procrastination, I did a lot of research. I went online, I read some articles, I wanted to know what other people were talking about on the subject. And I was surprised to see that really, probably 95 percent of what I found was a bunch of sort of psychobabble in my opinion.
A lot of it talked about, The brain being shaped differently in chronic procrastinators than non procrastinators. Some of them talked about scientific research behind why we do it. I just felt like, who cares? The fact is, you know, there's a couple things that I know to be true and that are important if We want to stop the cycle of procrastination.
And so I'm just gonna keep it really simple and here's the bottom line Procrastination is not who you are. It's really important to understand that Procrastination is something that you do. It's not who you are So procrastination in my viewpoint is a habit. It's something that we learned over time. And the good news is that habits can be broken.
And as most people know, I think the common statistic is that it takes 21 days to break a habit. So I am here to tell you that we, together, can break the habit of procrastination. The other thing is my advice is not going to be sort of pie in the sky, vague advice. I'm going to give you four actionable items that we can all start doing right now to make sure that we stop the cycle.
So why is it important to distinguish between Being a procrastinator and having the habit of procrastination. The reason it's important is because if you view yourself as a procrastinator, I believe it becomes then a self fulfilling prophecy that you will always be a procrastinator. If you call yourself a procrastinator, then whatever task or goal or whatever it is in front of you, in your mind, you're always going to click into the fact that, Oh, I'm going to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get this done.
So if we call ourselves that, we will live up to that title. So I'd love for all of us today to stop using that terminology and instead think of it as a habit because really, that's what it is. It's something that you do. You're choosing, you know, what is procrastination at its core. Really, it's a choice.
to do what's easiest, to do what feels best at that moment. So it's a choice of taking the path of least resistance. So if we understand that that's what it is, and that it truly is a habit, then we can take the steps to break that habit. So that to me is really, really important. So if it's true that we can break a habit in 21 days, can you imagine how differently your life can look after 21 days?
Can you imagine if procrastination wasn't a part of every day or wasn't a part of every meaningful task or goal that you need to do? Can you imagine the life that you can live? Can you imagine the dreams that you've had for years and years that you can finally, finally make happen? So it's exciting. I mean, and it's different for everybody.
Maybe for you. It's that you want to lose that last five to ten pounds or maybe you have this aspiration of wanting to finally write a book someday or maybe it's wanting to get out of debt and pay off that credit card or credit cards or you know, whatever it is, we can do this. We can. So let's go a little deeper with the idea of procrastination being a habit because procrastination It really can sneak up on us and it can be in disguise when we least expect it.
At its core, it is so much easier and feels so much better to not do something than it does to do something. And that's the way our brain is wired. The society we live in is all about instant gratification. So we need to be aware of that. And let's talk about what it looks like. So let's say we want to lose those 10 pounds.
We have the very best intentions. Maybe it's New Year's Eve and we set our New Year's resolution. We wake up the next day and we are going to the gym. We are eating all the right things. We are going through the motions and we are committed to losing those 10 pounds. And then one day, we drive past a McDonald's and boy, does a Big Mac sound good.
So the easy thing to do, the thing that's going to feel good in the moment is to Get off the road, go through that drive through and have that Big Mac and it does taste so good and it does feel so good. And you're so happy when you're eating it and so glad you did it. But then later on, all of those good feelings are canceled out times 10.
We feel awful not only because we ate a Big Mac, but we're down on ourselves for doing For taking the path of least resistance and not following through with our commitment, we lose a little self confidence and start to, you know, self doubt kind of creeps in. So really, in the end, we end up, you know, kind of putting that gold by the wayside and not achieving it.
And in the back of our minds, we know we didn't achieve it. So, you know, really, in the end, we end up not. Living up to our full potential, never getting that feeling of self accomplishment and achievement and that confidence that comes along with, you know, setting your mind to something and making it happen.
So in those moments, when we are deciding to choose that path of least resistance to choose that instant gratification, we have to remember what it's going to feel like later on. That feeling trumps every day of the week, that instant gratification. And if we can retrain our brains to know that, to believe that, and to act on that, that's huge.
And that's really the first step, is identifying the fact that procrastination is a habit. And identifying that cue that that happens, that feeling of that instant gratification or that need for instant gratification. And when we feel that, that is our cue. To not take the easy path to instead do what's hard.
What's difficult because we know that if we can make it over the finish line, we are going to feel so good about ourselves. There is no better feeling than having a dream, committing it to it and then making it happen despite the obstacles, despite the challenges and despite how hard it is. So that's something that I wish for all of us.
So the second thing we need to do is throw away our to do lists. Now that probably sounds strange and even sort of counterintuitive to what we're talking about today, but I really believe that the to do list is probably the single biggest contributor to procrastination and more importantly to us not achieving our goals, because the problem with the to do list is that It's human nature to want to do the easy things first because we all know it feels so good to cross something off the list or to check that box.
It does. But the problem with doing those easy things is they don't get us any closer to achieving our goals. Once I realized that, I sort of had an epiphany about it. It changed the game for me completely. When I threw that to do list away and started doing it differently, all of a sudden, day in and day out, I felt myself moving toward achieving my goals.
And that feeling kept me motivated and on track until I did achieve the goal. So, you know, if you are working so hard, but you feel like you're not getting traction and you're not getting to where you want to go, I have a feeling that to do list plays a big, big part. So I challenge you to do it differently.
And what I do is a daily action plan and you may have downloaded it from the last episode But if you didn't I'm gonna put the success planner link in the show notes below that so you can download it now Or after you watch this, but the last page is my daily action plan and you don't have to use that You can use anything you want.
But the point is the difference is you'll see at the top is a needle mover So the idea is that every single day you have at least one needle mover. I like to have up to three a day. And a needle mover is that big, scary thing that you have been putting off, but you know that has to happen in order for you to achieve your goal.
So if you're doing one needle mover a day, it does keep you motivated. And it will keep you on track toward meeting your goals. So this step, step number two, this is a total game changer. And I. I am excited for you to see the difference in the progress you make when you rethink the to do list. Now, the third thing we need to do is start scheduling our emails.
Now, what do I mean by that? Well, for me, and I'm guessing probably for you as well, emails tend to be the biggest distractor during the day. They are that thing that allow us to procrastinate and put off what we know we need to do. And it's amazing how much time can go by when we get lost in the email shuffle.
So the big game changer for me was first of all, when I recognized that, but second of all, when I started. scheduling time for emails and only scheduling three times a day. And other than those three times, I don't allow myself to look at email. So for me, some people would disagree with this, but I like to wake up and have my coffee and go through my email.
So that's sort of a ritual for me. I take 20 minutes in the morning to do that. But after those 20 minutes, email is shut down and I am on to my daily action plan. Then my second time is after lunch one o'clock. I take 20 minutes. I go through emails. I respond and then again shut down until my third time, which is I like to do at the end of the day around 5 30.
So what a game changer that was for me. Oh my gosh, I can't believe how long it took me to figure that one out. And you probably already have figured it out. I don't know, but I needed to share it with you because it helped me stop procrastinating. I really was, felt myself, you know, they would pop up on my laptop screen and that would be my cue to go into email and sort of bury my head and not do what I knew that I needed to get done.
So I challenge you to schedule it, put it on your daily action plan and in a time slot, however long you need, maybe for you it's five minutes, maybe it's an hour, whatever it is, schedule it so you know when you're going to do it. It's not looming in the back of your mind. It's there and you will do it, but you'll only do it three times a day or maybe for you it's twice a day, whatever it is.
But either way, you're going to be amazed how much more productive you are when you take that step. Now, the fourth and final thing that we need to do together, and this is a big one, so get ready. We need to stop talking about it and start doing it. We need to stop going to lunch with our girlfriends and talking about our big plans for what we're going to do someday and start doing it.
We need to stop making these elegant vision boards that we put up on our wall about what our life is going to look like when we achieve our goal, and we need to start taking action. We need to stop feeling like we need to have all of our ducks in a row, and everything has to be perfect, and we have to have all the knowledge you could possibly have before we can take action.
And instead, we need to dive in and do it. We need to stop being afraid of failing and instead feel that fear, but go for it. Take action. It's going to feel so good when you do that. And if you think about it, that's what procrastination is all about, is coming up with every excuse to not do something, because as we said earlier, it's easier and feels better to not do something, but that's a myth, because there is no better feeling than not wanting to do something, but knowing you need to, and then doing it and accomplishing it.
So that is my dream for all of us, that we will take those four steps, that we will stop the cycle of procrastination and start doing so that we can all live the life that we dreamed of, the very best life possible. I hope you found this helpful, and if you did, I would love for you to comment and tell me what was helpful for you.
And if you liked the content, because that helps me to design new things that I'm going to be talking about. And also, if you feel like this content would be helpful for someone else, I of course would appreciate you sharing it with them. And I just wish you all a fabulous day. And, just. That you could all live your very best year and the life to your fullest potential.