Procrastination is a thief of time and time is arguably one of the most important resources that we have and need to manage wisely; because once you have lost it you can never get it back again. There is a time for everything under the sun – a time to be born, a time to die, a time to sow and a time to reap, a time to laugh and a time to cry.
There are different things or areas of our lives that we procrastinate about and some of them can be obvious like work, projects, tasks and some are more subtle like changing diet, starting exercise. It may be helpful to make note of things you procrastinate about and check which areas of your life they fall into. Also helpful will be to identify the sort of activities that you engage in instead of the task at hand. This will help in identifying your pattern of procrastination and be able to develop strategies to overcome it or use it to your advantage.
In order to make ourselves feel good or less guilty about putting off the task we should be doing, we often create excuses for procrastination to justify doing the task later. Some of the excuses might sound valid such as I am tired now, I don’t feel ready or motivated yet. The reason to do the task should be more compelling than the excuses.
Perfectionism as you might have observed is one of the things that lead people to procrastinate. There is also the unrealistic belief that there will always be time
How can we overcome procrastination?
- Identify and acknowledge that you procrastinate
- Know exactly what needs to be done and prioritise them
- Break tasks into steps that need to be followed to achieve result
- Allocate adequate time to task
The Role of Coaching
Coaching is a facilitative approach that uses questions and challenges to initiate the coachee to find solutions, combined with a belief that the coachee has sufficient resources to find their own answers. No definitive coaching modality or approach has been identified within Australasia; however, the generally accepted definition of coaching is as a method that facilitates goal achievement (Green, 2007) and one that is collaborative, solution-focused, result-orientated and utilizes a systematic process (Grant, 2001).
It is evident from the issues that we identified above that thoughts, beliefs and the perspectives that we hold are the common underpinning factors. In other to address these issues therefore, we need to challenge those thoughts, beliefs and perspectives. The role of the coach in helping people to achieve success or getting from where they are to where they want to go requires the use of a number of skills which I will touch on briefly.
Creating trust: The ability of a coach to create a safe and trusting space for a client to speak and share freely without any judgement is a key feature of any successful coaching. When people feel safe, they are more likely to open up on the issues they face and be more willing to address them. Trust, I believe is the oxygen of coaching for without it, the coaching relationship will not go far and the real issues required for success may not be addressed.
Creating awareness: Before we can address any issue, there has to be awareness, acknowledgement and acceptance of the issue. Through powerful questioning, reflecting and acknowledging, a coach serves as a mirror for the client to see a reflection of themselves or behaviour patterns that are not serving them which they may not even realise that they had. Awareness will also be created around the values that are fuelling the behaviours in creating this awareness; the issues can then be addressed accordingly. In creating awareness, a client will have an inward looking and better understanding of self. It is very important for the coach to be fully present with the client and powerfully listen to what is said and what is not said to pick up on the underlying beliefs and behavioural patterns.
Reframing perspectives: Once an issue is identified, the role of a coach is to challenge the client/coachee to explore a different way of looking at or thinking about themselves or any particular situation. Having a different way of thinking will affect the beliefs and ultimately the actions. Through powerful questioning, visualisation, role play, the client will explore a different way or possible outcome for a situation.
Mindfulness: The coach will encourage the client to practise mindfulness. This is particularly useful in helping clients to observe their thoughts, emotions and feelings. They will be able to identify when they are entertaining their negative self-talks and will be better placed to change their thoughts into more positive ones.
Goal setting and taking action: The coach helps the client to clarify their goals and set action plans to achieve the goals. The coach will demand accountability and that will serve as a check for the client to keep to schedules and honor their commitments. This will be particularly helpful for people with procrastination tendencies.