I’ve been having an incredible time this past week, which actually led me to putting off recording this podcast for a few days. So, I think it’s time to talk about procrastination because it’s clear to me I needed this little pep-talk as much as anyone else out there.
Being a procrastinator was something I used to identify with. But the truth is that procrastination isn’t embedded in our DNA, and it’s really a learned behavior coming from the habits that we’ve developed over the course of our lives that feel like part of a routine. And when we accept this, that it’s not something we inherently are, then it becomes so much easier to change.
Join me on the podcast this week because this conversation can’t wait any longer. I’m sharing why procrastination is something we have way more control over than you might be allowing yourself to believe and the tools I use personally so we can keep ourselves on track and moving forward every day in ways that are aligned with our goals and dreams.
You are listening to episode 10 of the Wealthy Happy Soul Podcast: Procrastination.
Welcome to The Wealthy Happy Soul Podcast, a show for high achievers who are ready to start enjoying the life they’ve worked so hard to create. Join me, your host and certified life coach Dr. Tangie, to learn how to start infusing the dedication you have for your career into living a truly fulfilling life. If you’re ready to finally gain the happiness your soul has been longing for, this podcast is for you.
Hello everybody. I am so happy you are here. Welcome to episode 10. First I want to get started by announcing our very first winner of the $100 gift card giveaway. And this week it goes to WingingIt143 who left me an amazing review that I actually read back a couple of episodes previous to this so I’m not going to repeat it. But I just want to let you know that you are the first winner of one of the five $100 gift cards that I’m giving away to listeners who have entered to win by leaving a review on the show, and then emailing a copy of that review to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So like I said this is the first of five drawings that will take place, so go ahead and do that because there is still time to enter to win the other four gift cards.
And I just want to say that we’re very grateful to Greene Developers who sponsored this first giveaway. And Greene Developers is a commercial real estate development firm that focuses on building energy efficient sustainable affording housing communities. And they actually sold some of their land all over the United States for as little as a dollar down and $350 a month, which is a very great price for such a viable asset. So, if you’re interested in land you can reach out to them at greenedevelopers.com or you could even call or text them at 347-352-4838.
Okay, so this week I am so happy because I am in San Diego with my best friend since we were 12 years old. We are having such a great time. I’m so happy to see her.
And I’ve been procrastinating on this podcast a bit which is why I thought procrastination would be a wonderful talk for this week, because I need it myself. And thankfully I have an arsenal of tools which has gotten me back on track so that I don’t have a week where I don’t produce an episode. So let’s get to it. What do we want? A cure for procrastination! When do we want it? Next week. No, we’re going to talk about it now, silly.
We’re talking about procrastination now, so what is it? Procrastination is the act of postponing, delaying or putting off things especially habitually, or intentionally, which makes it more of a natural sequela of our habits rather than an inherent personality trait. Which I know is so disappointing to a lot of people, including myself because if you would have asked me years ago what my top five personality traits were. I can assure you that procrastinator would have been in the top five.
Until I learned that it’s not actually something that is embedded in my DNA. But rather it’s something that happens because of habits that we’ve developed over the years to where it becomes so routine that that might be how we feel. But when we accept the fact that it’s not, it’s a lot easier to change. And over the years I’ve learned that there are different types of procrastinators and different types of situations when people tend to procrastinate.
The first of which is the amotivational procrastinator. And this type of procrastinator is, I like to think of that person as the person who’s going to start a business but they’ll do it tomorrow, or they’ll do it next week. Or they’re going to do it next month when some other factor in their life just lines up perfectly so that they have all of the perfect stars in line so that they can actually start something.
And this sounds a lot like a broken record that plays over and over in your head for years, and years, and years. I’m going to start my diet next week. I’m going to start that business next week. I’m going to quit my job and travel the world next year, except it’s been 10 years. And you’re exactly the same place that you were when you first made the statement.
And this is one of the most sneaky ways that we as people tend to keep ourselves stuck because when we say stuff to ourselves, much of the time we’ve learned to sound so convincing that we actually believe it. But what we’re doing is we’re actually judging ourselves based off our intent rather than being based off of our actual results that we produce in our life. And really the answer to this type of procrastination is to increase our awareness and catch on to our own sneaky ways of feeling good about what we intend to do without really actually having to do that thing.
And I bring this up because everybody does it around something. And I think it’s very important for us to call these things into the light so that we can become aware of them and actually move forward in the way that we would love to move forward in our lives.
And the second type of procrastinator is the person who is very motivated by deadlines. There is actually a TED Talk by Tim Urban and it’s called Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator where he talks about this very same thing. And actually in the talk he speaks of when he was in graduate school and he had a dissertation due. He knew he had a year to do it.
And he procrastinated and procrastinated until three days prior to his dissertation, which admittedly he says was a terrible dissertation. But it sparked this inquiry of curiosity into not only his own mind but in the minds of other people about why we procrastinate until we have a deadline that we have to meet. And then all of a sudden we’re all up in a tizzy trying to get something done that we’ve had all the time in the world to do. But now we’ve just chosen to do it in one, two, three days.
And I can relate to this because that was the story of my life in medical school, and potentially even this week. I’m just saying.
One of the reasons he poses as to why people do this over and over again is because we have our regular rational brain which, by the way, procrastinators hardly ever listen to. But then we also have this very distracting instant gratification monkey who fills our lives with so much fun doing all the things other than the actual task that we’re supposed to be working on until about two, three, one day before the task is actually due. And that’s when our panic monsters wake-up and they’re like, “Listen, you have got to get this done.”
And so people who tend to procrastinate, while they might not listen to their rational mind, they for sure listen to the panic monster who is bigger than both the rational mind and bigger than the instant gratification monkey. And the panic monster’s important because he is the only thing that the instant gratification monkey is terrified of.
And to me this type of explanation makes perfect sense because it also falls in line with that dopamine addiction mechanism that is also very prevalent in our brains. It’s like you have this task to complete and you avoided, avoided, avoided, you’re having so much fun with the instant gratification monkey. And then all of a sudden there’s this very short time in which you have to complete the task. And once you do that then it’s like you get a certain type of dopamine hit as well that feeds into the habit of procrastination.
And what I thought was very interesting about his talk too was at the end he tied it into what I described as the amotivational procrastinator at the beginning of this podcast. And perhaps it would be interesting if there was a type of life calendar like he had mentioned in the talk. He pretty much had a bunch of boxes that represented the number of weeks in a person’s life who had lived to be 90 years old. So maybe – and I don’t know if such a think exists at this time or not.
But I think it will be a really cool idea for people who tend to amotivationally procrastinate for them to see kind of their life in a way that subconsciously alluded to the fact that there is a deadline even if it’s not associated with a particular date.
And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I think people also tend to procrastinate because – and you can probably guess what I’m going to say, because the task they are setting out to do is out of alignment with who they actually are. And I know I talked about this a little bit in episodes eight and nine around time management.
But really when you are doing a bunch of things that are out of alignment with who you are as a person, out of alignment with the goals that you hold near and dear to your heart, that is the opposite of inspiration. And action is best paired with inspiration, at least purposeful action is. I think a lot of the times we take a lot of action that isn’t inspired by inspiration or purpose.
And what we end up with is a life and/or a circumstance that doesn’t fit into our ideal of what it should be. And that’s because the magic’s not there. And in order to get the magic you have to infuse it with your own inspiration, your own purpose, with your own soul. And there’s not enough action in the world that can compensate for when those things are missing.
So what do you do to get out of procrastination when you’re in it? Well, the first thing I’d like to suggest is this technique that Brian Tracy developed, it’s called Eat the Frog. And it was based off of a quote that Mark Twain had famously said and that was, “If the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog you can go through the rest of the day knowing that the worst is behind you.” Meaning when you wake-up do all the hard things first and then you can enjoy the rest of the day. And you do this by identifying your frog.
What is your hardest most important task for the day? Pick just one task and then eat it and do it first thing in the morning, don’t put it off for later. And then put that on repeat every day, every morning when you wake up, what’s your frog, eat it, enjoy your day. Repeat.
And the second technique that I like to use is actually it’s called The 5-Second Rule and it was developed by Mel Robbins. And what she says is that any time you have an instinct to really act on a goal you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. So the moment you feel the instinct or the desire to work on that project, to go to the gym, to call your mom, then immediately start a countdown in your brain, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and go and move towards that action immediately right then and there.
Her theory is that there is this window that exists between the moment that you actually have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. And she says that it’s a 5 second window and that it exists for everyone. And when I think about my own life and my own mechanisms of procrastination I tend to agree. And I think this method is so fun because one thing I like to incorporate in my life is fun.
I feel like the more fun you can actually incorporate into your life the more that you enjoy it. And usually overcoming procrastination isn’t what people would add to their top 10 fun things in life to do, so I think this is just a very whimsical way to help in that area.
Last week we also talked about the Pomodoro Technique which is when you set a specific amount of time, usually 25 minutes to sit and do really focused work without distraction. And I found that to be very helpful in procrastination as well.
And lastly, and probably most important is to get in alignment with your inspiration. Your inspiration for doing something needs to be greater than the reason that you are procrastinating. You’re procrastinating because you would much rather be doing something else. And that’s because at times our actions can be out of alignment with who we really are as people. And that’s why it’s important to not only align your goals with your soul, but to eat the frog, to find pleasure in delayed gratification, to get in alignment with your inspiration.
We fill our lives up with so much unnecessary stress, and stagnation, and self-judgment because we’re not accomplishing the dreams that we set out to accomplish. What if we could stop wasting time and avoid a lot of our mind drama because we’re worrying about the consequences of our own procrastination? I promise, if you can apply what we talked about today you can have peace of mind and truly enjoy your time. You can increase your productivity and you can make the creative ideas that you’ve had in your heart truly come to life.
So what are you waiting for? Go eat that frog and I’ll talk to you next week.
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Thank you for listening to The Wealthy Happy Soul Podcast. If you want to dive deeper into alignment and start cultivating your inner wealth, head on over to drtangie.com.