The Power of Procrastination: Is Dragging Your Feet a Bad Thing After All?

We are so excited to introduce you to Anne Samoilov, super-star launch expert, mama-preneur, a dear friend of Hillary, and our first baby sitter guest blogger!

When she’s not rocking it with her clients, Anne can be found enjoying time with her husband and daughter, pulling lush veggies from her garden, and finding time to squeeze in a pilates class. 

Today, she’s here to chat with us about a big topic – procrastination! Read what Anne has to say, and then join the conversation in the comments below. We’ll ‘see’ you there!

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design (1)Ever have one of those super busy months where you can’t seem to get anything done?

You know – late for everything, handing in work at the last minute, asking for extensions on deadlines?

Well that’s been my world for the past month…it seems I’m constantly looking at my pile of work and wondering how the heck I’m going to finish it all! This pile of work isn’t just any pile of work – it’s work that will be very public, visible…so the stakes are high…and the pressure!

Man oh man!

But this time around, as I started putting little things off here and there, I’ve noticed the way I work, what I actually am able to finish, and the realization of some deeper reasons why this is happening to me in the first place.

And the secret is this…one that I don’t admit easily.

I procrastinate. A LOT. And mostly because (for me) I take on more than I can handle.

I’ve known this for awhile now and it started me asking questions.

Is procrastination good or bad? Does leaving things until the last minute mean bad things for me and my business? Or is there some power in procrastinating on certain stuff you know you have to do?

Since I’m now an admitted expert at procrastination…

Here are 3 ways to tell if you are putting things off for good or bad reasons

1. Is the task or project something that doesn’t require a ton of brainpower or something you’ve already created/done before?

If you have a task that will not take a ton of time, or you’ve done it before and you know it won’t take a lot of time or thought, then leaving it to the end is actually okay.

It’s better to tackle tough, complex tasks that require a little more thought and execution, first. Yes, you may be tempted to knock off the easy things from your list, but doing THAT will actually be delaying the harder work or things on your plate.

When I’m working on a product launch, I usually try to map out my communication schedule and write a first pass of all my emails before I do anything else. I’ll also put my ecommerce system first on my list because these are the things that cause me the most grief in the end.

If it’s going to cause you grief or stress, try to do it first! Click to tweet…

2. Is it possible the item on your to do list is something you are confused about or unsure how to take action?

I used to work with a woman who wouldn’t speak up right away and clarify if she didn’t understand something. Instead, she’d go radio silent and I’d have to check in on her to find out if it was confusing and let her know that it was okay if she didn’t “get” something. After only 1 time of her putting off tasks that she didn’t understand, I made sure to tell her to review the task and get back to me ASAP with any questions.

This is your job, too! If you have a task assigned by someone else or perhaps you’ve assigned it to yourself, you don’t get to just put it off because you’re confused. Ask for help. Find someone to explain it to you.

And – yes – this is the bad kind of procrastination, because sometimes what you don’t know will hurt you.

Imagine waiting until the day your business estimated taxes are due to find out how to pay them…and then being late. Bummer!

If you don’t understand the thing you’re putting off, it’s up to you to get clarity. Click to tweet…

3. Is what you’re waiting to do something you know how to accomplish, but you simply feel flooded with other work and can’t quite get to it?

First of all – you’ve clearly taken on too much work. Said yes to too many people.

It happens.

But putting something off until the very last second is still no excuse.

If you’re nearing the deadline, simply ask for a real extension and then get to work now (not on deadline day).

Whenever I’m launching, there are always things that I think I want to include in the launch and then end up not including. Why does that happen? Why do I end up not making that video, or doing that Q & A call, or writing that email?

I’ve assigned myself too much work to do in too little time.

And like I said – this month has been one of those months. So, I’ve had to say no to many things I wanted to do and re-commit to the things that I said yes to!

Okay – enough said.

Here are a few funny little things about procrastination that you may have experienced yourself:

  1. I create some of my best work under pressure.
  2. I get a ton of work done when there’s a clear looming deadline.
  3. I always get things done if I just decide to do them.
  4. Whatever I make a priority gets done.
  5. Whatever was NEVER a priority or necessary gets dropped.
  6. I always have the power to bow out or change my mind.
  7. If something doesn’t feel good, nix it ASAP so you don’t get in the mess in the first place.
  8. Think before you say yes.
  9. Be kind to yourself and if you need time to get something done – TAKE IT.
  10. Learn to get comfortable saying no – you can’t do it all, so prioritize and allow yourself to say no when it doesn’t fit.

Now It’s Your Turn…

I’d love to know if there’s an area of your life or business where you routinely put things off, and how that impacts the overall quality of what you do and how you feel when you’re doing it? Got any more procrastination discoveries to share? Tell me in the comments, I can’t wait to connect with you!

 

About Anne…

AnneSamoilovAnne Samoilov is the creator of Fearless Launching, an online training program that teaches entrepreneurs how to successfully launch their businesses and programs. She works with online entrepreneurs, authors, and creators helping them put together amazing offerings and then launch them! You can learn more about her at her website, annesamoilov.com and grab the free launch toolkit at: http://www.annesamoilov.com/launch-toolkit/  You can also chat with her on Facebook and Twitter, too.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Oh my God, so good to feel less alone in my procrastination. Like you I do create some of my best work under pressure, though, so it’s not all bad! I used to be a journalist and working to tiny deadlines is part of my DNA. (Well, not really my DNA – you know what I mean.) I love the insight about how procrastination can be a sign that we’ve said yes to too much, so will spend some quality time with my to-do list today and see what I no longer feel is a priority.

    • Rachel Barbic says:

      Awesome, Camila! Learning to say no is a big one. This was one of Hillary’s birthday promises to herself this year, “To honor my space and say “No”, with love, when it feels right.”
      You can check out that post here: http://bit.ly/SRRTGc

  2. Thanks for the tips, Anne. Me and procrastination have been friends a long time; too long… I’m going to use “whatever I make a priority gets done” tip. It’s way too easy to get the easy stuff done and push off the important (harder) things, which then never get done. I think I’ll start tomorrow! 🙂

    • Rachel Barbic says:

      Love it, Ellen! Did you get started today? How does it feel to put the “difficult” tasks first?

      I’ve found working through the tough stuff first makes the rest of the day so much easier! 🙂

  3. I think #3 is the worst kind of procrastination.I am totally guilty of taking on too much or not saying no – let’s say 7 out of 10 to every request. I do think creative thinkers and problem solvers say they do their best work under pressure. I am sure there is some psychological brain chemical release or something connected to this phenomenon?

    One of the first things I remember learning from a business coach was “7 Ways to Say No”. I still try to practice those variations in wording which does help with making saying no easier.

    • Rachel Barbic says:

      Yes, Andrea – I’ve found the same, that a lot of creatives and problem solvers tend to prefer working under pressure. Would be fun to explore the psychology behind that.

      I’m “The Helper” on the Enneagram so saying “Yes” is always my first reaction. Something I continue to work on, too! 🙂

  4. Great article,:-)
    It made me rethink my way of organizing my day. I am working a lot but not being productive, and doing the things that are not very demanding first hand in the morning, I realize that I should do the most difficult talk first, so then I could relax a bit and not be all day long stressing out for what is next!
    And deadlines that I also could include so things get done in that period of time… I kind sense that talking about deadline makes my brain in a more focused state, more productive state! Great!:-)

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