How do you stop yourself from procrastinating so much?
You’re always doing something at any moment in time. Maybe you’re on social media, maybe you’re watching YouTube videos, maybe you’re checking your phone 200 times. Whatever it is, you’re always doing something.
The question is…
How do you get yourself to do the things you know you should be doing?
There are two types of procrastination.
The first type is when you don’t know what to do. You literally have no idea of what direction to take, what your purpose is, and you feel lost.
When you feel lost, it’s because you lack a clarity of purpose. You have no mission.
Alice In Wonderland has the perfect conversation to demonstrate this.
Alice says to the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where.”
Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
Some people procrastinate because they don’t know where they want to go. They have no mission, no purpose, no clarity, no vision.
And if you don’t know where you want to go, you won’t know what to do.
Nobody can come up to you and tell you what your purpose is, you have to figure it out yourself. And that’s why so many people have a problem. They want to be told what the purpose of life is and what their mission should be.
Now, most people aren’t completely clueless. Most people have an idea of what they want to do but it’s a vague idea.
And what happens is you start to think if this is the right thing you should be doing. Should I do this? Should I spend all my time committing to this thing?
But you don’t want to spend 10 years of your life, only to find out that you’ve wasted all those years going down the wrong path. So you hesitate. And hesitation creates procrastination.
Most procrastination comes from fear of the unknown. It comes from not being sure of what to do.
The second type is when you know what to do, you just don’t do it.
If you’re the second type, you’re screwed. Just kidding.
This is probably the most confusing form of procrastination. You know what to do, you just don’t do it. And you can’t seem to get yourself to do it, no matter what.
You know you should go work out, you know you can just go to the gym, but you just don’t do it.
You know there are certain tasks in your business you need to get done, but you just don’t do it.
This type of procrastination is annoying because one part of your mind is saying, “I’m going to do this.” And the other part is saying, “Let’s just start on Monday.”
So what do you do about all this?
The first type of procrastination, where you don’t know what to do, just comes down to having a mission. Having something to go after. And it’s easier said than done, but it really is that simple.
You just create a mission for yourself. A purpose. What purpose? What mission? ANYTHING. You just decide.
Think of it like this…you can create whatever you want to create as long as you think crazy enough to believe you can do it, and then think in a practical way to get it done.
Nobody has a purpose in life until you decide what that purpose is.
It’s not just a goal. It’s a full blown mission.
Imagine if someone kidnapped someone you loved and said, “If you don’t make $200,000 in one year then you’ll never see them again.” What would happen to you psychologically? Well, first you’d probably cry and freak out.
Then you would have a mission. You would get extremely focused and you would block out the world. You would have one mission and say, “This is what I’m going to get done.”
Anyone who talks to you about anything other than your mission, you would ignore them. You would say, “Listen, I don’t have time to talk about sports, I don’t have time to gossip, I’m focused on making $200,000. This is what I have to get done.”
Imagine how focused you would be. You would have this insane mission that would allow you to wake up early and go to bed late. You would wake up, ready to go. Ready to take on the world. Because you know that if you don’t get this thing done, someone will die.
How you think about an activity determines whether or not you’ll procrastinate on it.
Really ask yourself, can you afford to give someone 200k right now? What if your kid was kidnapped? You might not have the money, but you’ll figure out how to get it. You’ll do whatever it takes.
So why not figure out how to get it for your business? What changed isn’t your situation. What changed was how you see the situation.
You don’t see it as a life/death situation right now to get what you want. And because you don’t see it as life/death, you don’t have this sense of urgency to accomplish your mission.
You can be on a mission to build a million dollar business or you can be on a mission to get some ice cream. Your mission is whatever you want it to be. You just decide.
Anyone who’s accomplished anything great has felt like they were on a mission to accomplish something great.
But what gets most people confused is they think about it too much. They say, “What’s my mission?” And they want someone to tell them what to do.
What they don’t realize is that your mission can be anything you want it to be. Literally anything. You decide what it is. And a lot of people aren’t comfortable with having complete control over what they want to do.
But I’ll tell you right now, if you want to stop procrastinating, then having a mission, having a purpose, will not only stop your procrastination, it will pull you towards accomplishing something great.
Procrastination isn’t the presence of something, it is a lack of having a mission to accomplish.
If you have the second form of procrastination, where you know what to do but you’re just not doing it, then it’s because of fear.
It’s fear of the unknown, fear of what people think of you, it’s all fear.
It’s fear of the unknown because you know what to do, but you don’t know the end result. You can’t see all the way to the end. You’re not 100% sure if by doing this thing, you’ll accomplish what you want.
You have an idea of what it will accomplish, but you’re not 100% sure. Then there are these little steps where you’re not sure. And a lack certainty creates hesitation. And hesitation feeds the beast of procrastination.
And I have some bad news for you. You will ALWAYS feel this ‘unknown feeling’ in everything you do because you can’t predict the future.
What people don’t know is that the ‘greats’ feel the same as you when it comes to the unknown, they just ignore it. In their mind, they’re planning, they’re trying to see the future, and they’re not sure of where things are going to end up. But that’s the difference between great people and people who procrastinate.
Procrastinators stay where they are because they don’t what’s coming next. Great people move forward despite not knowing what’s coming next because they know they can adjust.
No matter how many planning and plotting you two do, the only way you can find out is to step up and do something, then adjust to the results you get.
So you need to get over this form of procrastination by understanding that the feeling of ‘not knowing’ will always be there…you just do it anyways.
And at first, it’s going to suck. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
And there’s actually a third form of procrastination that’s an invisible form of procrastination. It’s when you mistake activity for productivity.
A lot of people procrastinate and don’t even know they’re doing it.
These are the people who want to build a business and they say things like, “I need to do more research.” Or, “I need to create my business plan.” And 2 weeks later, they still haven’t done much. And when someone asks them what they’re getting done, they take it as an attack. They think, “Just chill man…I said I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it. Stop being so negative.”
Most entrepreneurs are in this stage of procrastination because they engage in activities that don’t produce results. They do things, but they don’t do the right things. And there’s a difference between doing things and doing the right things.
If you’re constantly talking saying, “I don’t have enough time.” “My plate is full.” “I would like to do it but I just don’t have the time.” If you’re saying those things then you’re using activity as a form of procrastination.
And the only way to get around this is to sit down and write out the most important activities that will produce your end goal.
So you figure out what your goal is, where you want to end up, and then write down the most important one or two activities that get you to that goal.
But here’s the dangerous part. The dangerous part is that you usually don’t know what will get you to that goal. You might be able to take a small guess, but you don’t really know. And that’s why you have to gain more knowledge.
You have to learn from someone who can show you the right activities.
Most people engage in useless activities and then they wonder why nothing shows up in their life. So you have to have a reality check. You have to realize that what you’re doing isn’t working and you have to change what you’re doing.
But you have to make sure you change what you’re doing to the right things.
So here’s what it comes down to…
You overcome procrastination by having a mission. A mission that you take dead seriously, as if a family member were kidnapped and you have to accomplish this mission or they’re going to die.
Then you have to do things despite not knowing the outcome. You plan, but you adjust. Your plans will never turn out the way you thought they would, so you just acknowledge the fact that there will always be this feeling of ‘I’m not sure where this is going to end up’ and you just do it anyways.
And then, you make sure you’re engaging in the right activities by listening to other people who know what needs to get done.
Understand this, hesitation feeds the beast of procrastination. And having a mission, obliterates it.