I’m sharing about a topic that is near and dear to my heart today, friends. I’m talking about my solid, long-term, committed relationship with procrastination. That’s right. Maybe this is something you can all identify with which is why I want to address it and shed some light on it. What is procrastination? Why do we do it? When does it show up? I have many questions about my procrastination so I’ve organized my thoughts into something I can share with you that just might resonate.

Of course, the first thing I did was look up the definition of procrastination because I love research and learning. Oxford said it’s just the act of not doing something. I prefer the Britannica definition, which is to be slow or late about doing something that should be done, to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, or because you are lazy, etc.. This helped clarify my thoughts about how I define procrastination and what I think it means for those of us in business. I think it’s something slightly different.

In this episode, I’m going to define what I think procrastination is and why it happens to us when it does. There are three main reasons I think we procrastinate and none of those reasons are laziness. I’m also going to tell you about the names I’ve given to my different styles of procrastination. Not all procrastination is the same or comes from the same place. Ultimately we each need to examine our own tendencies to procrastinate and understand where it comes from and how it shows up. Once we can identify where it starts, we can begin to create plans for dealing with it so we can achieve our goals. Let’s get into it. 

Key Moments

03:45 What is procrastination? The three things I think define it.

10:08 How procrastination shows up and pulls our focus from what we should be doing

16:46: So what do we do about procrastination? I have some thoughts.

  • What is “procrastisupport” and why is it a type of martyrdom associated with procrastination?
  • The timeline of when procrastination appears matters to how we cope with it
  • Why learning to ask for help and having supports in place are important steps

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor: 

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Transcript:

Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be the Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life get stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want, and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:00:37] Hello my friends. I am so glad you’re here. Today I am sharing with you a topic that is near and dear to my heart. And I have to tell you with a bit of honesty, I’m tired of myself right now. I have a solid, long-term, committed relationship with procrastination, and I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about that today because I thought maybe you do too. Now, I looked up the definition of procrastination. So there’s a couple different definitions. I didn’t like the Oxford one that just said it’s the act of not doing something, but Britannica, the definition of procrastinate is to be slow or late about doing something that should be done, to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, or because you are lazy, etc.. And I thought, um, that doesn’t really fit for me, because in most situations when I’m procrastinating, it’s not because I don’t want to do it or because I’m lazy. And I don’t think this is true of a lot of people. So I think it’s a topic worth diving into. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:53] What is procrastination then? So I agree that it’s that idea that we’re putting something off, that we know we need to do it, many times these things have a deadline or they have an importance to them. Things like taxes, big projects, things that we want to start, the book we want to write, all of those great intentions. But then something happens and we just keep pushing it back, pushing it back, pushing it back. Now here’s the part that I don’t agree with when it comes to Britannica. I don’t think it’s because we’re lazy, I really don’t, and I’ll tell you that there have been times in my life where I might have called something procrastination, but it wasn’t the right term. I think sometimes when we have a really big idea, a really big project – so maybe you’re going to launch a course, maybe you have a new business idea, maybe you want to write that book – so it’s a really big thing, I think there are times where it looks like procrastination, but it’s actually marinating. Where we’re sitting with an idea and we’re just kind of letting it come into our thoughts, our ideas, and we’re just swimming around in it. And then when we give ourselves a deadline or we’ve sold the product, we’ve made the commitment, we have something that has a due date, that it pushes all of that soupy marination kind of stuff into a plan, and it starts to have a more linear flow and then we actually get the thing done. But I think there’s a piece of procrastination where we’re not actually taking action on something, but there’s this beautiful spot where we do want to marinate with an idea. We don’t want to rush something, we want to take our time with it and let it kind of unfold. I think there’s a magic to that. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:03:45] So the first thing I want to talk about is just what is procrastination? Why is it happening? Is it more of a marination or is there something else going on? Now, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m at a stage where this week, this past couple of weeks, my procrastination is not at that marination, beautiful stage where it’s moving me forward and it’s allowing me to just sit with my creativity. There’s something else, and I think it’s now coming with irritation. And this is where I wanted to dig a little bit deeper with you today and really talk about that, because when I come back to, okay, what’s really going on here, and I dig into this. When procrastination shows up and you find yourself delaying or putting off things that you know you should do that are connected, especially to those big goals. So if it was something around your New Year’s resolution or something you wanted to do in your business this year, you were connected. You were motivated to that bigger idea. As I have been, I’ve got some big things that I’m launching right now that I’m really excited about and I do believe in. But I’m in my own way right now and it’s annoying me. The first thing that I acknowledge is that one of the biggest reasons for me is fear. I tend to be one who has a very active imagination and can always anticipate the worst possible scenario in a lot of different situations. Anxiety and I are close. We’ve been close for a long time, and if you need to know 92 things that could go wrong in any different situation, I can probably tell you what they are. The fear of being vulnerable, putting that idea out there, creating a course, launching a podcast, writing a book, sharing your ideas, that’s a really vulnerable experience. And any time I think that we get close to letting go of something that we’ve held close or that feels personal, there’s an immense amount of fear. And I think we have the fear of it not being as great as we thought it was going to be. We have the fear of being rejected or ridiculed or judged for our idea that it just didn’t land the way that we wanted it to.

Kari Lotzien: [00:05:57] And I think there’s a fear of rejection because, not that we’re not courageous enough, not that we’re not brave enough, not that we’re not badass enough. it’s simply because what other people think matters. And if you’re in a service-based business, people buying your service or product matters. Feeling connected and aligned with others is part of what you want. So I think the fear is real, but in this situation we want to look at it. Is the fear preventing us from taking the action that we need to, to even be able to assess whether or not the idea is valid? If you shut yourself down and fear stops you in your tracks and you never release the idea, you never tell anyone about it, you’re never going to get to the point where you know if it was good or not, because your fear was like a guard at the door that didn’t allow you to actually put it out there. So I think by just acknowledging it and looking at it and going, okay, this is fear, but it’s fear that’s actually not based in reality. It’s not based on any sort of data. I’m just stuck. I’m in my own head. And to get through that, we need to kind of force ourselves to take some level of action to get some data to find out, okay, is this fear valid?

Kari Lotzien: [00:07:15] The next. I think being uncertain creates procrastination. Let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t know what to do next. We don’t know what the next right step is, and it can feel a little bit daunting. Or we feel like we’re really on unstable ground because we just don’t know what are the things to do in the right order? And I think this comes up in business so many times you want to launch a new product or you want to offer a new service and you don’t know, well, should I focus on my website? Should I focus on social media? Should I be doing a newsletter? Should I be doing a promotion or a sale? How do I get my word out there so that people know what I’m doing? Should I be doing a collaboration? Like there’s so many different options. I think sometimes just the uncertainty of not knowing what to do or what to do when can get in our way. And every time that you listen to a new person or give a new opinion, they’ll have a different idea about what you should do. So I think sometimes it’s just, okay, what could I do next? And how does that feel? Does that feel like it would get me closer to my goal, or does it feel like maybe I’m playing a little bit too small? Does it feel like, well, that doesn’t really feel connected with where I want to go? It feels like maybe I’m actually going backwards? So I think just asking yourself that question, am I just feeling uncertain and I don’t know where to go and what could help me take that first step or the next step?

Kari Lotzien: [00:08:43] Third. I think procrastination can show up when we have a lack of knowledge, when we feel like we just don’t know what to do. And this is different than uncertainty, because I think uncertainty is we know what all of our options are, we just don’t know which one is the right one, and we don’t feel necessarily confident or ready to make the decision. I think lack of knowledge comes in when we truly don’t know how to do something. We don’t know how to run a Facebook ad. We don’t know how to record a podcast. I know for myself, lack of knowledge has been a really key piece when it comes to tech. I will get completely wrapped up in trying to choose the right platform. Or should I be using this font or that font for social media? And what about colors? And I get so tied up in, I just don’t know how to do all of these things, I don’t know how to set up automations and funnels and all this kind of stuff, and it can sometimes paralyze me because I don’t know how to do it. So tech is a big one that kind of just gets in the way. So I think those are the three of just knowing why is this showing up? Is this fear? Is it uncertainty which I think is different than fear? Or is it just a lack of knowledge? I don’t have what I need to, to be able to move this project forward.

Kari Lotzien: [00:10:07] So we talked about why. Now I want to talk about how. So I think the procrastination shows up in different ways for different people. For me, I’ve actually created some new words around this of how procrastination shows up, because it is a sneaky little thing. It shows up in little ways that you will feel like you’re making progress, but you’re actually not progressing on the things that are important or that you need to do. So my three words: “procrastilearning”. This is my like probably number one favorite way to procrastinate. I say, oh, I don’t know enough yet. I should take another course, listen to another podcast, read another book. Sometimes I even think I should go get another degree, pursue another university program. It gets in my way where I think, oh, I just don’t have all of the information yet. Procrastilearning. And the way that I know that I’ve got here is because I have a lot of ideas. I’m ready to get going, and sometimes I’ll even start and then one little thing will trip me up.

Kari Lotzien: [00:11:13] I’ll see something on social media, a podcast will come through my feed, and I’ll think, oh, I don’t know about that. And next thing I know, I’m down a rabbit hole thinking about, oh, I just need to do one more thing. I need to get one more certification. I need to learn one more piece of this puzzle. This is tricky because the world of learning is so accessible right now, you can go on Google and within a minute you can be signed up for a university program at Harvard. You can go on and listen to a podcast, download a course. Learning is just so available right now, and I love learning. It’s one of the things that I do for fun. It’s something I do in my business all the time, so I can trick myself into thinking it’s actually moving me forward. But so many times I’m relearning the same thing, it’s just packaged in a different box, right? So people are saying the same things over and over and over again, they’re just saying it in a little bit of a different way. But when I really checked myself, that type of procrastilearning is not moving me forward towards my goals and getting my courses out and doing the thing that I know I need to do. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:12:23] The next one. “Procrastitasks”. So procrastitasks are those little tasks that make us feel busy because we’re good at them. We are checking boxes off our list and we get that little dopamine hit because our body is like, oh yeah, we’re getting things done. But when you really look at it, you’re getting the things done that a) maybe you shouldn’t be doing. You could easily outsource those things, automate those things, but they’re keeping you feeling like you’re actually getting the sense of accomplishment or you’re moving things forward. So we are checking things off the list. Now, I’m going to be really honest with you. I had to call myself out on this because when procrastitasks come into my day, all kinds of things annoy me. All of a sudden, I feel like this is the day that I absolutely have to clean out the little cup on the washing machine to make sure that I’ve really scrubbed all of the extra dishwashing detergent out of there. Or suddenly I’ll feel that, oh my goodness, I really need to clean out the fridge or the pantry is driving me nuts. These are things that when I’m actually progressing on something, don’t bother me. But when I’m in this stage where I’m almost looking for things to do, all of a sudden these things cannot be left and they need my full attention and they will drive me crazy and they pull me off course. And you know, you’ll have your own definition of what those procrastitasks look like for you.

Kari Lotzien: [00:13:52] And I’ll tell you today, consciously, my dishes are sitting in the sink, my floor needs to be swept. And I had to say to myself, eye on the prize. You need to go sit in your office and do your podcast. You need to get it recorded. You need to be marketing your Anchored Leadership Academy program. You need to be getting things out there. Like, I had to have this like, bossy conversation with myself to say, listen, if I was paying someone to do the jobs that are on your list currently and they were spending their time washing dishes and sweeping the floor, you would be angry with them. So get your butt doing what it needs to be doing. Now, I’d love to say that I actually listened. I did make banana bread. Because you know what would happen in the world if the bananas stayed on the counter for another day and I wasn’t able to make banana bread. So I did digress for a little bit, made the banana bread, which also gave me that like warm comfort food that then when I had the next conversation with myself about like, you really need to get this done, I felt like it helped. Okay, so procrastitask.

Kari Lotzien: [00:14:58] The third. And this is a tricky one because we are kind people who care about others, and we like to help and we like to support. But there’s this sticky little area that I call “procrastisupport”. And the way this shows up for me is the message I tell myself is everybody else needs me. That, you know, the kids are sick and you need to stay home with them and you need to make them chicken soup or oh, someone from your team asks, hey, can you help me with this thing? I’m not really sure how to do this. And you feel like you’re pulled in that direction. And then a friend calls and they decide, oh, I would really like to meet you for lunch. I’m, you know, having kind of a rough week. Any chance you could help me out? Procrastisupport says, I can’t do the things that are really important to me – I really am, I am focused on these goals – I really need to get them done but so many other people depend on me that I just don’t have time. And sneaky, sneaky secret, my friends. I hear this all the time. All the time from my clients is everyone else needs me, so my goals get put in the back seat. They get put on the back burner because I don’t have time. And when you really sit with yourself and you get real, you know the difference. You know when you are getting in your own way and it’s a message that you’re telling yourself that says this isn’t real, it’s procrastination. It’s just showing up in a way that makes me feel like I’m a kind, caring person and that everyone else needs me. But it kind of shows up as martyrdom, where I’m so important that all of these other things are in there.

Kari Lotzien: [00:16:46] Okay, so now what do we do about it? I think, number one, you need to expect it. You need to know, okay, when is this showing up? I know for myself, procrastination for me tends to show up towards the end of one of my projects. So I will do all the content, I’ll record the video, I’ll write the newsletter, I’ll do the social media post. It shows up for me at the very end when I go to pull the trigger. When I go to release it or put it out there, this is when I’ll get in my own way. And so many things don’t ever get released. And I think that there’s a lot of people out there. You might be one of them. Do you have like, great ideas that you have like developed a whole business plan or you’ve created a product or service? Maybe you’ve recorded a bunch of podcast episodes that are sitting in a Google Drive folder that never went anywhere. I think there’s a lot of times where it’s pulling the trigger. It’s the last little piece of vulnerability. For me, it’s the fear of putting something out there that will actually stop me in my tracks and take me right back to getting nothing done. So I’ll get something to like the little wheel is almost 90% closed and I just don’t close the gap and get it finished. So one of the ways that I know procrastination is coming, and I know it’s going to show up in a really fierce way, right at the end. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:18:11] Now for you, maybe for you, it shows up at the very beginning. Maybe it’s hard for you to get started on that big project. Maybe for you it’s completely different and it’s a matter of the task just feels so big, it kind of feels insurmountable. And if you’re a great dreamer or a really good visionary, you can take a seed of an idea and then imagine it as a multi-million dollar project and where it goes and all of the exciting pieces that it holds. And then it gets really overwhelming really fast. So for you, it might be that when you expect procrastination, it’s at the beginning, that you just don’t get started. So when you know that that’s when it shows up for you, and then the second step is to plan, okay, how am I going to deal with it at that beginning stage? So maybe for you, if you’re a great visionary, you’re a dreamer that can really think of big things, maybe the way that you deal with procrastination at the beginning is by breaking your goals down into really small steps to say, okay, what do I just need to do first? What’s the first very small step that I can take towards this bigger goal? And maybe could I connect with someone or have an accountability partner, or do something that allows me to just get started?

Kari Lotzien: [00:19:24] For me, I outsource someone to actually pull the trigger for me. So I do all the content, I write it, and then my VA’s job is to schedule the post going out. She does the last stage of the marketing, so it actually gets out into the world. My podcast producer is the one that actually launches these episodes. That puts them on the platform, because I know after I’ve recorded it and I just, I need to let it go only into a folder, and then they take it from there, because I know the closer it gets to launch date, the more likely I am to pull back and get in my own way again. So I outsource the last stage because I know it’s coming, I know when it’s coming, and then I plan through just that phase.

[00:20:13] Gillian is an incredible entrepreneur who is going through a time of scaling her very successful business. When she offered to record a testimonial about her experience with the Anchored Leadership Academy to go on my podcast, I was so honored. Have a listen to what she had to say. My name is Gillian and I just finished the Anchored Leadership Program with Kari Lotzien. I’m a financial planner. I’ve owned a practice for eight years and I’d hit a space of exponential growth. Everything was going great, but I always struggled with the management of team, how to hire, how to fire, how to have those yucky conversations. And that was a huge takeaway from the Anchored Leadership, where I got tools and practice as to how to implement those things into my business so I can continue to grow and continue to thrive. It was an exceptional experience that I would highly recommend to any business owner who is looking to push through their discomfort to that next level of success. In the Anchored Leadership Academy, we combine weekly live sessions for one hour that focus on a key area of leadership, and then participants have the ability to work through all of the content in the modules between sessions. This allows a nice balance between accountability for really busy entrepreneurs to keep moving forward with the program and get it done, while also having the ability to flex their time a little bit and make it work for them. An added bonus: all participants get lifetime access to the videos, the audio, all of the resources in the course so you can keep coming back to it again and again when it applies to that specific time in your business. If this sounds like an interesting thing to you, click the link in the show notes, book an inquiry call, and let’s see if the Anchored Leadership Academy is right for you at this stage of business. Thanks so much. Back to the show. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:22:13] Now the next step, if you’re procrastitasks, you got to know. Like you just have to ask yourself, put on your list, what are the small tasks that you do that are getting you closer to your goal? And if you get off track a little bit, maybe for you it works really well to do like a time audit. So at the end of your week, you assess what are the things that I’ve done during the week? What are the tasks that I accomplished that are getting me closer to that big goal that I set? So if it’s something health related, say, how many times this week did I walk? How many times this week did I stretch? How many times this week did I go to the gym? How often did I actually get my water in? Or did I drink a pot of coffee every day before noon? And then I had a headache and I wasn’t able to go to the gym. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:22:56] So you can do it both ways. One, you plan your tasks ahead of time and say, these are all the things I need to do to get going, but the other is to bookend at the end of your week and say, okay, what actually got my time? What actually got my attention? And then you retrofit it to say, are these the things that are getting me closer to my goal? So then when you’re checking things off your list, you see that connection to this was my priority, this was my goal, and you start to create that circle around it. This can also again help you find those gaps to say, okay, where am I getting in my own way, and where is the exact space and time that I need support to get over that little speed bump of procrastination to keep me moving forward? 

Kari Lotzien: [00:23:40] And then the last spot,that really sticky one is that procrastisupport. Everybody else needs me. I have so many demands on my time. I’m so busy, I just don’t have time. And this is where you need to have a really serious conversation with yourself. So notice again what’s coming up for you that is making you feel like someone else needs you, or that their goals are more important, or that you’re needed somewhere else. Your kids, your spouse, your partner, your team members, your friends, whoever it is. And then say to yourself, okay, how am I going to manage this when it shows up? So if someone says to me, hey, can you go for lunch next Tuesday, you’re going to say, I’m not taking lunches next week because that puts me off my goal. So I’m just going to say, oh, I can meet, but it’ll have to be after 5:00 or it’ll have to be on the weekend. If my kid’s needing help with their homework, it’s okay for me to say, sweetheart, can’t help you right now. Give me half hour. I’m doing my stuff that’s really important for me. And then I’ll come and I’ll help you in a half hour. Or is there someone else that might be able to take that over? Is there someone else that can make the meal this week? Can you order out? Is there another way? Can another parent help drive your kids or drop them off or take them to an event? There are supports available, and sometimes, especially if we lean towards that martyrdom a little bit, we feel like we have to do it all.

Kari Lotzien: [00:25:08] Learning to ask for help and to admit that, you know what if I’ve got this big goal, it needs to get my time and attention, this is something that can really kind of trip us up. So I want you to just have supports to say, okay, when this happens, here’s how I’m going to manage it. And just trying to squeeze more in or I’ll try to do it faster, or I’ll try to multitask, or I’ll just take my laptop with me while I’m waiting for my kid at dance class, and then I can get those few emails done, well, often that doesn’t happen. So you need to kind of protect yourself from yourself and have open conversations with people around how they may be able to support you, especially if you’re one of those people that just gets a lot of pride out of supporting others. Give them a chance to help you back so that you can move these big goals forward.

Kari Lotzien: [00:25:56] Okay my friends. That was my episode for today around procrastination. A) why it shows up. Two, how it shows up in those procrastitasks, the procrastilearning, and the procrastisupport. And then three, a few ideas on how you might overcome it to really move things forward for the things that are important to you. This podcast is all about creating the life that you crave. It’s about bringing your visions, your dreams into your reality. And when your dreams are big, when you have things in your mind and in your heart that you want to move forward, I think it is part of the human condition that procrastination is going to show up. It is going to be at your door because any time that I think the universe gives us an idea that’s going to move our life forward, I truly believe that if it was too easy, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much. So I think it has to show up with a certain amount of resistance procrastination that we battle through. And I think it gives the message back that we’re willing to work for this, that it’s important enough to us that we’re willing to put in our part, that we’re willing to do the work that it takes, to give it the hustle to push through things that are easy. I think sometimes the world of manifestation, abundance, affirmations, they trick us into thinking that we just need to visualize what we want on the other side, and that the path will be easy and that if it’s not, it means we’re doing something wrong. I don’t think that’s the case. I think when we have these visions, these ideas that come to us, I think we have to meet them halfway and be able to do the work. I do think it becomes easier when we do it and we push through, but I don’t think it’s super easy.

Kari Lotzien: [00:27:51] So I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have ideas that I did not address around how you manage procrastination and how you get over those tricky humps, or how it shows up for you in maybe a different way, and it’s not the procrastilearning, or the procrastitasks, or the procrastisupport, maybe you have another one, drop into my DMs, let me know, or hop into my email inbox. I’d love to hear from you because this is a common topic, my friends. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you’re listening. And I invite you to like, subscribe to the podcast, take a screenshot, share it with your friends and anyone who is maybe getting in the way of their own dreams. Thanks so much for being here. I’ll see you next week.

 

Kari Lotzien: [00:28:34] Please know that this podcast is meant for entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitution for medical or professional mental health advice. If you require support, please do reach out. Thanks so much.