How Do You Coach Someone to Reduce Their Level of Procrastination?

Photo by charlesdeluvio

This is not such an easy task as the procrastinator will always find a handy excuse for their delays. However, you need to start off with the REASONS behind the need to procrastinate. Remedying a particular situation is not really possible until we UNDERSTAND why we do certain things, and how we can alter our mindset and perspective to change those habits.

Procrastination is a sign of unease and temporary discomfort; of the inability to focus on priorities and react to the moment. It suggests something not quite right with what is happening at that time, which encourages the person to take refuge in delays and hesitation.

For example, when we procrastinate, we do it primarily for the following reasons:

  1. We don’t really want to do a task (perhaps it’s very boring, especially if it is repetitive), so there is nothing to look forward to, and we dread having to do it again. Or we put it off for as long as possible so that we don’t have to do it at all in the end.
  2. We don’t like doing the task, which gives us little satisfaction, thrill or excitement. It then induces fear or dread instead of any joy or positivity in doing it.
  3. We are not ready, not qualified, or equipped for it, or we are not sure what we should do with it, so we feel overwhelmed by the thought of getting on with that job, and so delay the start as long as possible.
  4. We are pre-occupied with anxiety around emotional/social/relationship issues that are unresolved and find it difficult to focus. Unless we resolve those issues, we will be distracted by them, which prevents us getting on with things we need to do.
  5. We are pre-occupied with other tasks we believe should be done as well, while avoiding the need to get on with the task at hand.

The most important fact is that when we procrastinate, we are not making any decision to get anything done. Yet without that decision, we won’t have any action, which then gives us no RESULTS. Without routine results to reinforce our talents and competence, and reward our efforts, we won’t feel good about ourselves, or be motivated to do even more with our life. Soon it will gradually start having a knock-on effect on anything we might wish to do.

You would need to look at the reasons above, or to any other pertinent reason, to identify the ones the person might not be aware of, and try to resolve those first in order to motivate then into getting on with what is necessary. It could simply mean that the person is overwhelmed by what they have to do, and feels better procrastinating with the task rather than admitting what the real problem is. Hence why some soul-searching at the very beginning of coaching is extremely important to get to the bottom of their inactivity.

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