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How To Work With Procrastination

"How To Make Procrastination Work For You" by Amy Eliza Wong, Life and Executive Coach in the Bay Area, CA
My life changed drastically, and for the better, in 2011. I had a transformative breakdown/breakthrough experience. I finally embodied my purpose. And I founded my company, Always On Purpose. One of the most notable shifts was my relationship to procrastination. I stopped fighting it and instead learned how to work with it. I went from stressing about it to appreciating it.
Yep, you heard me right.
I didn’t overcome it. And no, I didn’t succumb to it either. Instead, I saw it as an important part of the creative process. When I did, my life immediately felt more buoyant. Tasks were getting done with little effort. I became genuinely happier and more productive. But, learning to appreciate procrastination didn’t happen overnight. With a bit of time, a mental shift, and one new practice, I released myself from unnecessary suffering.
Before you try to overcome procrastination with brute force, I invite you to a new relationship with it. If you want to learn how to make procrastination work for you, there’s a couple things you’ll need to do.

How To Work With Procrastination

Step 1 – The Mental Shift

The first step in making procrastination work for you is changing how you frame it. Up to this point, I’ll bet you considered it as laziness or weakness. But what if that weren’t at all true?

Instead let’s consider procrastination as your creative subconscious gestation period.

What do I mean by this?
Let’s consider all the things we usually procrastinate on:
  • work deadlines
  • creative projects
  • creative project deadlines
  • important (and intimidating) conversations
  • personal admin stuff (like paying bills or scheduling doctor appointments)
  • professional admin stuff (like marketing and networking)
Think about a procrastination thorn in your side. Consider that you have made an agreement with yourself (or someone else) to do something, by some time. In that time between “agreement to do” and “agreement executed” lives a rich world of potential. A world that isn’t usually acknowledged by your conscious mind.
While you’re busy bemoaning what you’re NOT doing, and should, your subconscious mind is busy at work. Underneath your conscious awareness, your subconscious is fertilizing creative ideas. It’s developing solutions. It’s sparking inspiration to put the pieces together in optimal ways, waiting to reveal insights at the most exciting time.
For example, think back to when a game changing idea hit you at the last minute. I remember dragging my feet for 6 weeks to put together a high-stakes presentation. I was stuck on the opening, and I couldn’t put it all together without it. Low and behold, the brilliant aha hit me in the shower the day before the presentation was due. The presentation then practically wrote itself, and I couldn’t have felt better about the result.
So yeah, it all came together at the eleventh hour, but so what? The reality is, it got done and it was great.

Working with procrastination means you understand that creative hits come exactly when they’re ready to sprout.

Not because you plan it on the calendar.

Sure, you might end up burning the midnight oil in service to your Eureka!, but the output is always more than worth it.

Getting it “done” to avoid procrastination anxiety closes the opportunity for impactful rework. It shuts the doors for inspiration and excellence.
Procrastination becomes our friend when we ease into the delay. As our friend, we see it as the necessary time and space when crucial components come together.

How to Work With Procrastination

Step 2 – The Practice

Affirm to yourself all the time, “It’s gonna get done, and it’s gonna be great.”
Because when has it never not gotten done, and when has it never not been great??
Um, never.
You always get it done, and it always works out so why think that this time it will all fall apart? Why assume you’ll fail this project miserably and everything will come crashing down?
Trust yourself and know that you’ll knock it out of the park. Why? Because at the end of the day, you always do.
“It’s gonna get done and it will be great.” Regularly affirming this mantra is a powerful practice because it removes unnecessary resistance. In that space where resistance once preoccupied, inspiration flows and ideas emerge. Things get done with little effort because you’ve gotten yourself out of the way.

Working with Procrastination as a Practice

Do these two steps remove the need for brute force to get things done in your life?
If I were to be entirely honest, no. It doesn’t. There have been a handful of moments I scrambled at the last minute without the inspiration I’d been waiting for. But guess what, that’s ok too. Because that final push produced a result I was proud of in the end. It got done and it was great.
So there you have it. Procrastination doesn’t need to be the enemy. It can be a source of creative inspiration and excellence. And with the mantra, it can be instrument to lessen resistance in your day-to-day.
Think of that… a life with more inspiration and less resistance?! What say you?? 🙂
To take it further, read more or find out how coaching with me will take your life, work and relationships to the next level. 👊🏻