Procrastination: 3 Different Types

September 16, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the first of 3 different types of procrastination:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

Procrastination: 3 Different Types

Procrastination is one of the most common productivity challenges. Some people struggle with it often across all areas of their lives, others infrequently in only particular areas of their lives. But most of us have experienced it at one time or another.

The word itself does little in the way of helping us identify a solution. It simply describes a phenomenon: The act of putting off something you could do now for later.

But there are several reasons why a person might do such a thing. And different solutions depending on the reason.

I’ve created 3 categories to help my clients understand procrastination and what to do about it:

  1. Chore procrastination
  2. Dream procrastination
  3. Type 3 procrastination (descriptive name, right?)

Chore procrastination is when a person puts off a task that holds little or no intrinsic appeal, but the outcome of the task is valued.

Dream procrastination is when a person puts off a task related to a big goal or dream.

Type 3 procrastination is a catch-all category for procrastination that doesn’t involve a dream or a chore. Typically, this type requires a closer look to understand what it’s really about.

These are generalizations. Often a person’s own brand of procrastination blends the three. But before you can overcome your procrastination, identify which type or types it is.

Is what you’re procrastinating simply a chore, or is it related to some big goal or dream you’re pursuing?

If it’s neither, or you’re not sure, look closer at what the result will be if you completed the task you were procrastinating. What will that result be (describe it in as much detail as you can)? Why is that result important? Is that result related to one of your big goals or dreams?

Your answers may lead you to the conclusion that the result is not important to you. In which case you need to ask yourself why this task is on your to-do list at all. (I’ve written more about this subject in a previous post.)

If you try to overcome your procrastination before you identify what type or types it is, you’re likely to fail and frustrate yourself. Once you know the type, you can get to the business of solving it.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

To learn more about identifying the 3 different types of procrastination and how exactly you can solve each, register for a powerful and fun teleclass at http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html


Can Procrastination Be Good?

September 8, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on how procrastination can actually be a good thing.

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The GOOD Kind of Procrastination

Many people come to me wanting help overcoming their procrastination. My first question to them is this:

Is it the good kind of procrastination or the bad kind?

“Curtis, what in the world is the GOOD kind of procrastination?”

I’m happy you asked. 🙂

There are different reasons for procrastination. Some are fear based, and those are the ones that I help my clients overcome.

But procrastination can also be a signpost that your actions and your values are out of sync. In other words, procrastination can reveal that you’ve committed to something that isn’t important to you.

For example, for years and years I pursued music. I put together bands, I wrote and recorded songs, I took guitar lessons. It was my “dream” to be a successful musician, and everyone around me knew it.

Yet I procrastinated 90% of the time. Why?

What I ultimately learned was that years earlier I’d created an identity for myself as a musician. I fell in love with the IDEA of playing music. But my heart wasn’t in it. I rarely enjoyed it, and it was always a struggle for me.

Procrastination was a warning sign that I’d made a choice that didn’t serve me. It was like a blinking red warning light that something was out of whack in my life.

When I finally stopped pursuing music, it was such a relief. I felt like I’d been released from prison–my own prison that I’d created out of an expectation I had for myself.

So before you try to “overcome” your procrastination, take a look at where it’s coming from.

Understanding Procrastination

If you find yourself procrastinating (especially if it’s ongoing procrastination), ask yourself these questions:

1. What specifically am I procrastinating?

This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. “I procrastinate my work.” Okay, so what kinds of work, exactly? Be specific.

2. Why am I procrastinating?

Don’t settle for the first answer that comes to you, especially if it doesn’t contain an insight. Keep asking yourself (lovingly, not like an interrogator) until you learn something about the source of your procrastination.

3. What choice will serve me the most?

Remember my music example? If I’d asked this question and been open to an honest answer, I would have seen much sooner how music wasn’t serving me.

Trying to overcome your procrastination without first understanding where it’s coming from can make you feel worse by adding layers of guilt on top of a choice that isn’t serving you in the first place.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

I’ve identified 3 different types of procrastination. Each type has a different solution. If you try to overcome one type of procrastination with the wrong kind of solution, you’ll fail and frustrate yourself.

To find out more about this powerful teleclass, and to learn how to identify and overcome the different types of procrastination, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html


The REAL Reason to Plan

August 20, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the purpose of planning:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The REAL Reason to Plan

There’s a saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. So then, why plan?

Most people think the purpose of planning is to achieve the specific results that you’re planning for. And that seems to make a lot of sense. If you want a certain result, you create a plan to get it. So that must be why you plan, right?

But hasn’t it been your experience that no matter how carefully you plan for something, your actual path to your goal is at least a little different than your plan?

If that’s true, if things rarely go exactly according to plan, then that can’t be the purpose of planning. Think of that as the motivation for planning—the result you want is what motivates you to plan, but it’s not the purpose. So what is the purpose?

The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens—when something new comes up—you can refer to that plan to help you make the best choice possible.

The real value and advantage to having a plan is that it gives you the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and unexpected events.

For example, you create a plan for the week. It includes all of your appointments and top priorities and tasks for the week. At 11 AM on Tuesday, your boss tells you to drop everything to prepare a report for her by the end of the day. Dealing with that task now becomes your new top priority.

Because you already had a plan for the week, you can make informed and intelligent choices quickly about what to postpone, what to reschedule, and what to delegate so that you can deal with your changing priorities. Your plan empowers you to deal with those changes.

Imagine you didn’t have a plan for the week and your boss gave you that task. You’d be trying to juggle all of your existing appointments and priorities and tasks in your head as you dealt with this new emergency.

At best you’d feel stressed out. That new task would create a ripple effect in your brain as you tried to mentally make all of those adjustments.

At worst, your brain would shut down, mentally dropping everything but the new task. You’d start missing appointments, missing deadlines. Where’s the power in that?

Understand that time is fixed—we all have 24 hours a day, no more and no less. Your power is not in how much time you have. Your power is in how effectively you choose to use your time. And planning enhances your power to choose by giving you the context you need to figure out what to do when things change.

So let me repeat: The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens, you have the information you need to make the best choices possible.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Productive Planning: From Stress to Success

Learn a 6-step process that will make you an expert at completing your top priorities…no matter what else is thrown at you during your day. To find out more about this powerful teleclass, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/productive_planning.html


Goal Setting – Make SMART Goals SMARTER, Part 2

August 4, 2008

Last week I gave two examples illustrating how powerful it is to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal technique to clarify your goals and explode your productivity. [Download a free SMART Goals worksheet here.] But that technique alone does not directly address the daily pursuit of your goals — that is, how do you make sure you do what needs to be done each day to achieve your goals?

Read the rest of this entry »


Goal Setting – Make SMART Goals SMARTER, Part 1

July 31, 2008

Defining Your Goals

One common, yet powerful technique in the field of productivity and goal-setting is creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. This involves clarifying and defining your goal according to the following criteria:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Results-oriented
Time-bound

[Download a free SMART Goals worksheet here.]

The best way to explain this process is by example.

Read the rest of this entry »


Feel More Peaceful & Love What You Do

April 24, 2008

In my own personal journey to feel more peaceful and love what I do, I’ve learned a few things that may help you in yours:

First, there is an inner wisdom in each of us that we can easily lose touch with. The culture we live in values celebrity over service, popularity over love and respect, and dollars over abundance. With this culture shouting in your face, it’s no mystery why you can’t hear the soft-spoken truth from your soul.

Second, there is no magic bullet. No one technique or tool will address every challenge you face. What is required is a willingness to stop and listen. Invite your soul to speak to you. Don’t require it to. Simply create space in your awareness for wisdom to show up.

Third, consistency trumps strategy every day of the week. A mediocre plan executed consistently will always beat the perfect plan never begun.

There are structures that can support your inner inquiry. If you have the willingness to ask questions and listen for answers, I recommend the eBook, Feel More Peaceful & Love What You Do.