Why do we procrastinate? The 3 reasons and how to stop! The Quickest Fix

What is the quickest way to stop procrastinating? In Step 1 we looked at the reasons we procrastinate, in Step 2 I explained why what we usually do to get stuff done doesn’t work. In the last step of my vlog series on procrastination I cover the quickest way to stop procrastinating and get stuff done…..


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Hi I’m Hattie Voelcker and welcome to Step of my three-stage vlog on “Why do we procrastinate? – The 3 reasons and how to stop!(Step 3 The Quickest Fix)”

Today I’m going to be looking at the quickest fix to procrastination. People often underestimate the impact the language they use with themselves has on how they feel. In Step 1, I talked about how, when we’re putting something off, we have a tendency to use the language Should Must Ought Got or Need to try and get ourselves moving on that task. For example “I really should practice” “I really need to prepare for that next task I’m doing” “I really need to get my kitchen tidy” (if you’re me!) The trouble is this, as I said in Step 2, this makes us feel, and therefore react, like children. So even if we do do the task, we do it reluctantly; but there is this huge tendency to then procrastinate, to put it off – either because we feel vulnerable or we’re worried about failing, or we just feel rebellious and don’t like being told what to do.

In addition there’s no reward for doing the stuff we “should” or we “ought.” You did what you ought to have done, you did what you needed – big wow! So it’s there’s no carrot, it’s all stick and that stick is the stick of shame because if you don’t do something you should, then really you failed and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Instead what we can do is think about what we want to achieve, ask ourselves why is it we’re telling ourselves we should do this, why do we feel we should do that or we ought to do that, we need to do that? What is it that we want to achieve by doing that? As soon as we start doing that we start to focus on our goals, which is much more positive because our goals are always things that we want to achieve!

So what is your goal, what is it you really want to achieve and why is it you feel that you ought to do the thing that you’re telling yourself you should do? When you start to establish what it is, that gives you the capacity to start to change your language, which is part and parcel of changing how you feel about the task. If instead of talking about what you should do you start talking about what you want to achieve, or what you’d like to do, or love to feel, or enjoy having, then it puts a positive slant on the whole thing.

These are what I call WELL words. Want, Enjoy, Like, and Love. They’re positive words that help us focus on the positive involved. For example if it’s about preparing and you say “Well I really need to prepare” and you ask yourself the question “Okay, why do I need to prepare? Well I need to prepare because I’m worried about remembering all my words. Well what is it you want? I want to remember all my words.” So then you can focus the task. “I want to prepare because I want to remember all my words” and you then have a task you’re doing to achieve a positive, which feels more empowering, more optimistic, and less likely that you’re going to put it off.

If you can exchange your SMOG words for WELL words you can start to feel more optimistic about your goals.

Sometimes the goal can be a little bit far away for the feeling of what wanting that goal to be strong enough to pull you along, and there may be several steps you have to take before you get to that goal. For some other people sometimes focusing on what we want, enjoy, like, or love can feel hedonistic. You can feel self-indulgent and so they find it hard to use WELL words. When either of these are the case you can use what I call WISE words, what would it be Wise, Intelligent, Sensible, or Effective for you to do at this stage?

Unlike SMOG words where there’s no reward, there’s no carrot at the end, when you look at WISE words they are aspirational words and therefore there is a carrot at the end. If you do something wise then what does that say about you? It kind of says you’re wise. If you do something intelligent it’s the same thing. Sensible, Effective, they’re all things that if we do tasks that we consider wise, intelligent, sensible, or effective we feel good about ourselves at the end.

So if we take ourselves back to the psychology of this with both WELL words and WISE words, if we start to ask ourselves what we want or what we think would be intelligent or sensible to do we’re starting to treat ourselves like adults and that gives us the capacity to respond as adults. We’re starting to ask our own opinion and trust that opinion so you’re not telling yourself what to do, you’re not saying “You must do this, you should do that.” You’re giving yourself options. This allows you to respond in Adult, to make the wise decision that you’ve always been capable of but you just didn’t trust yourself to. It changes your focus from feeling like a vulnerable child, overwhelmed by the things you feel you should do, to a grown-up capable of making wise decisions and being in control of those decisions. It empowers you which feels good and, just as with children, if you give yourself responsibility you’re much more likely to step up to the mark, step up to that responsibility and make the wise decisions and do the things that are wise to do in order to achieve your goals.

If you’d like to understand a little bit more about this technique then go to my website and download my Lifting the SMOG workbook, findyourtruevoice.co.uk, or you can click on the link attached to this video. In the meantime focus your attention on what it is you want to achieve and why you want to achieve that. Trust yourself to be wise enough to take the steps necessary to achieve your goals without to treating yourself like a child. Let go of the SMOG language and replace it with the more positive language of WISE and WELL and then see what you achieve by doing this. I think you’ll be surprised.

I have one last piece of advice for you but before that I hope you’ve enjoyed this vlog series on stopping procrastination. If you have then why not sign up for my 5 Steps to Producing your Best Performance in which I share with you the best way to feel confident when performing and produce a performance that really impacts your audience. To do that, again, go to my website at findyourtruevoice.co.uk or click on the link attached to the video.

My final piece of advice is that these SMOG words can actually be indicators, they can be flags that let you know that you are feeling vulnerable or daunted by something. If you notice that your using Should, Must, Ought, Got ,or Need around a task it may be an indicator that there’s something about that task that is triggering something that makes you feel like a child inside, and you may have already started to procrastinate without realising it yet. If this is the case then you can go back to Step 1 and ask yourself the question: “What’s that about? What is going on for me that is making it hard for me to do this thing?” You may be surprised by the answer you give yourself!

I’m Hattie Voelcker, thank you for watching. Bye bye.