The Multipassionate

5 Reasons why you procrastinate on your big goals (+ Free task manager)

I am definitely not someone who procrastinates a lot: I always get my work done in time, I plan ahead, and as most of you know I am pretty structured with my projects and tasks.

Yet, last week I found myself finally doing a stupid, tiny task that had been on my Notion Dashboard since October (yes that’s 6 months).

You know how long it took me?

2 minutes!! It was literally 1 phone call to cancel a bank account.

And why?

Not because I am a procrastinator…

I don’t really believe in procrastinators.

First of all, when you take something as part of your identity, you can’t help it or change it. That’s a very powerless place to be, but a good excuse to not get your work done.

Second of all, if that was true, procrastinators would procrastinate on everything, including watching Netflix, meeting their friends, and working on their favourite projects. Obviously, this is not true… we only procrastinate on certain things, and those things are different for everyone.

Procrastination is a behaviour, not an identity. It’s something we do because of various reasons I want to discuss with you in this short blog post.

Here are 5 reasons why you procrastinate, and what you can do to change this behaviour.

#1 It’s not important or urgent enough for you

Getting back to that one phone call I procrastinated on for 6 months…

I procrastinated on that task because it really didn’t matter that much and there was no urgency: there was zero money on the account, I wasn’t using it, and I didn’t need it.

But would you procrastinate on calling your mom, or your best friend when you hear she’s taken to the hospital?

No, of course you wouldn’t.

How to overcome this type of procrastination:

First of all, ask yourself if this is a problem.

If you spend a lot of time in your life on the things that actually matter to you, and procrastinate on the rest… It means you’re following your heart.

It only becomes a problem when this procrastination has a negative impact on you or the people around you. Like not paying your bills on time, not delivering a project to a client, or not calling that friend who you know needs you.

If this is the case, you need to make it important and urgent to you. We often procrastinate on things because we focus on short-term goals, or urgent tasks.

A great way to avoid this mind trick is to remind yourself why paying your bills or calling that friend helps you achieve your long-term goals.

On top of that, you can use some productivity techniques to make sure these activities look urgent. Like putting 3 reminders on your phone, putting a time-block in your calendar for admin tasks, or sticking a post-it note on your computer or mirror.

#2 You can’t (stay) focused

One of my previous partners procrastinated HUGELY on studying for his exams. Videogames, Youtube videos, Netflix… everything was better than actually sitting down and studying. Why? Because he couldn’t focus. It was hell for him. When he was diagnosed with ADHD and got medication to help him through his exams, his focus went up and procrastination down.

This is not to say that if you can’t focus, it means you have ADHD… Many of us have just developed very bad habits when it comes to focusing. Social media is the clearest example of this.

How do you expect to focus when your phone gives you a notification every 5 seconds?

How do you think you’re going to be undistracted when your Facebook feed is always open?

What do you think is going to happen when you’re working from your living room where your roommates or family members are enjoying themselves?

When you can’t stay focused, it’s easy to let yourself be distracted because ‘you weren’t getting any work done anyway’.

How to overcome this type of procrastination:

There are plenty of focus techniques and tools that can help you improve your focus. Of course, it means you have to change your habits, and know that this takes time.

#3 You just need the pressure of a deadline to get work done

Some people just need the pressure of a deadline to get things done, even when things matter. If you are someone like that, the real question you have to ask yourself is this:

Is this type of procrastination an actual problem for me?

If you often don’t get your work done in time, and miss deadlines, yes, it might be an actual problem. Make sure you figure out what is going on here, you’ll probably find it in one of the other points in this blog 😉

But if you stress about your procrastination and judge yourself for working last-minute, even when you always get the work done… You are just someone who performs well under pressure.

How to overcome this type of procrastination:

In this case, you have to learn how to work with it, rather than ‘overcome’ it.

  • Don’t plan out 2 days in your calendar for a big project if you know you’re only going to use the second day and feel bad about not doing anything the first day.
  • Use deadlines to get work done that is not dependent on others. When you’re not a student anymore, and you don’t work for a boss, you set your own deadlines. But we all know how easy it is to fiddle with it. You can create some extra accountability by working with an accountability partner, a coach, or sharing a goal with your audience on social media (For example: “I will launch this course on [date].”)

#4 You are avoiding because of fear

Fear of failure, fear of being seen, fear of losing love… Our deepest fears drive the biggest part of our unconscious behaviour.

Maybe you are a (recovering) perfectionist who has been procrastinating on launching a creative project because it never feels good enough. You are afraid to be judged.

Or do you want to start a business, but you feel like an imposter? You doubt that you know enough to sell your skills in this area. You suffer from imposter syndrome.

Or, you are hiding behind your multipassionate identity: ‘I just like too many things’. While in fact, you’re just too scared to choose something, because of your fear of losing something else, or not choosing the right thing.

How to overcome this type of procrastination:

This is the hardest type of procrastination. It has nothing to do with your planning skills, but it has everything to do with your beliefs about yourself and about life. Overcoming these types of self-sabotaging behaviours requires some deep mindset work around limiting beliefs.

I could write a whole new blog about how to work through your limiting beliefs, but for now, I would strongly suggest you do some research on this topic, or work with someone who can coach you through this.

The good news is that this is such an interesting process to learn, and it will be useful for the rest of your life.

The bad news is that you will have to overcome limiting beliefs forever. Every time you change a belief, you take on another one.

#5 Your projects are too overwhelming

This is an easy one to fix, but it happens all the time.

Many people have a to-do list with things like:

  • Cleaning out the garage
  • Creating a website
  • Building a treehouse
  • Starting a business

I am already overwhelmed just writing that down.

Those are huge projects! They take multiple days, maybe even weeks, or months… No wonder you procrastinate because it’s hard to see progress when you’re looking at the whole finished project.

How to overcome this type of procrastination:

Break a big project down into small bite-sized pieces and focus on one of those things at a time.

Instead of ‘clearing out the garage’, you can start with ‘cleaning out one closet’ today. Or go even smaller: ‘cleaning out one drawer’.

One additional tip that helps motivate you for these types of bigger projects:

Track your progress!

It’s so satisfying to tick off what you’ve done at the end of the day! Make sure you write down all the small daily tasks that help you complete the project, and check them off your to-do list once they’re done.

I created a Notion template that helps you break down your projects into small tasks. It includes a progress bar so you can track your progress. You can download it for free here:

Download your project management template

Break your goals down into specific, quantifiable projects and track your progress with this project management template in Notion.

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