how to overcome procrastination on the the Smarter Searches blog

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It’s been awhile since we visited our monthly review of selections of “Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self” by Don Hahn — but we’re back, and this month, we’re covering the topic of procrastination!

Getting inspired to create, fulfill, and maintain a business is hard work. It often involves not knowing where to start or how to get going — you know, that little thing called procrastination. So, before we get started on beating procrastination and how to overcome it, I wanted to briefly touch on Hahn’s thoughts on the topic, because he has some great ideas on how this “little” nuisance is often the main culprit that hinders one from moving from inspiration to idea to completion of whatever you’ve set your mind to.

Fear and Procrastination

Hahn calls procrastination — or this mechanism of delay — a “form of self-sabotage that has less to do with poor time management and more to do with our coping mechanism for dealing with the fear-laden prospect of undertaking our work.” For him, that could be anything from finances to presenting terrible ideas, but it’s fear, nonetheless, that often holds him back. In contrast, when you first think about people who procrastinate — or even Google something like “how to overcome procrastination” — most of your initial thoughts and the first results will likely have something to do with dealing with poor time management skills or laziness. But, that’s not the full truth for the majority of people! Chances are, if you’re here, reading this blog, researching ideas about creating a successful business, you probably fall into Hahn’s camp, where fear is the primary issue — not poor time management or laziness.  

So, now that you know procrastination can be more about fear than about poor time management or laziness, find out what you’re afraid of and why it’s holding you back. Set up an actionable plan for dealing with this fear so that it no longer stands in your way.

Procrastination and Physics

While fear or managing distress are often the true culprits of procrastination, Hahn also points out that procrastination can be applied to Newton’s laws of motion:

  • The law that an object at rest will stay at rest until acted on by some external force. Hahn says, “there is nothing more ‘at rest’ than an idea.” You have to be the external force that gets it moving.
  • An object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted on by some external force. Here, Hahn points to all of the fast-moving pieces of his life that keep him busy or entertained, but sadly, continue to push his ideas and dreams to the back-burner.

Ways to Overcome Procrastination

  1. Check out Psychology Today’s 11 Ways to Overcome Procrastination. The tips may be pretty obvious, but they’re still helpful reminders. And, if you ever visit our office, you’ll see a poster depicting #11 — Done is better than perfect. Now, we definitely want to create excellence for ourselves and our clients, but as you’ll read, this is a great reminder that perfectionism can be an all-or-nothing mentality — an easy way to hold someone back from starting or finishing a task. So, rather than waiting for the perfect time to start or proceed (there isn’t one!), just get the job done as best as you possibly can.
  2. Read the book “The War of Artby Steven Pressfield. This is a suggestion from Don Hahn, and it’s supposed to help readers come to terms and deal with the life we live, the unlived life within us, and the resistance that stands between them.
  3. Read the book “Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking” by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This book tries to help readers see the obstacles many face in the process of making, as well as some strategies for moving beyond them.

Get Sh*t Done

Whether or not you are laden with procrastinatory habits, it’s time to realize there isn’t going to be the perfect time to start a project or task, and there’s never going to be the perfect time to continue to work on that project or task. The time is now. It’s time to let go of your fear, start putting ideas into motion, and it’s time to get sh*t done!

For more on this series, be sure to follow all of the #YourCreativeSelf articles on the Smarter Searches blog.

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