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Stop the stall: How to stop procrastinating and start doing REAL work

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“I know what I should be doing – but I’m not doing it.”

That’s a familiar refrain that I hear over and over again. Constantly putting things off and then getting stressed about the work not being done is a hamster wheel of doom that many REALTORS® get stuck on — unable to get off, get ahead and get organized.

Most people think that to stop procrastinating they need better discipline, clearer goals or better time management skills. And yes, those are all necessary and valuable. They work – once you’ve stopped putting off the work itself. Is it the chicken or the egg?

Three main root causes drive procrastination. Once you can identify the one (or three) that are affecting you, you can build a game plan to fix the issue forever. There’s live training for you HERE if you’d like to dig deep into how to stop stalling.

 

Reason #1: You have a “WHO” problem (not a “HOW” issue)

 

If the work you have to do is stuff you truly and viscerally hate, and you keep putting it off, you have a “who” problem. You can ask yourself a thousand times how you’re going to get it done but make no progress whatsoever.

I personally hate detailed work. I am re-releasing my book, The Dragon and the GOAT, and my editor asked me to make a series of changes. They were nit-picky and small and I put it off for three months until I risked missing the deadline entirely. Then I had to do it or blow a deal.

I loved writing the book – I just hated editing it. Looking back, I could have pawned that work off on someone else and they’d have done it in an afternoon. Instead, I thought I was the one who had to do it and dragged myself through shame and guilt instead.

In Dr. Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan’s book, Who Not How, we are challenged to ask different questions than simply, “How am I going to get this done?” Instead of “How … ?” you ask, “WHO can help me do this?” or “WHO knows how to do this better than me?”

Sullivan went on to say, “If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.” To suffer through work you suck at is unproductive at best, and destructive at worst.

Where you spend your time should be on things that you’re great at, and get rid of the rest. Know your limit – play within it!

 

Reason #2: You’re (unknowingly) making an emotional decision

 

Think of the last time you wanted to or knew you should be doing some sort of work or task, but when you sat down to get it done you aborted and did something else (typically something fun, satisfying or mundane).

Now, slow down time. You had the desire to do the work. You felt bad that it wasn’t done yet. But there was a split second where you made a lightning-fast emotional decision NOT to do the work.

Ray Dalio, founder of a trillion-dollar hedge fund, credits being emotionally resilient and regulated for his success. This means that he is well aware of how he feels about the work he does and can control those emotions – keeping his cool, staying clear and focused and, ultimately, getting the work done.

As adults, we have terrible awareness of our emotional swings. This causes us to be reactive, frozen or diverting our energies anywhere but towards the work at hand. The solution is simple, but not easy: learn to develop more complex language and descriptions for how you feel.

Check out the Emotion Wheels that you find online (any Google search will do). Teach yourself how to name the feelings you have before you get to work. This way, when the emotions surge and you’re enticed to take a hard right and avoid the work, you’ll hold the line instead, take a deep breath and get it done!

 

Reason #3: You’re experiencing self-sabotaging thoughts and identities

 

Want to guarantee that you’ll never break the procrastination habit? Call yourself a “procrastinator.” How you define yourself is what you believe, and we can only act upon what we think and feel.

Think you’re more productive when you do things at the last minute? You’re not. Your brain goes into panic mode and you do not do your best work – not by a long shot. Sure, you’ll get the work done, but at a great cost emotionally, energetically and productively.

The identities that you give yourself direct your attention, focus and what you ultimately see in the world. Say you’re a procrastinator, and you’ll find exactly zero solutions to your problem.

Instead, call yourself a “top producer”, and your brain will fire in a very different way. You may have to work at it and it won’t be an exact science (certainly not at first), but the more you relate to the “top producer” identity than being a “procrastinator” the more you’ll find the solutions to your problems simply show up. They’ve always been there — you just didn’t see them.

Our brains are finely tuned engines, but we have to prime them for optimal performance. By asking yourself “who” not “how” and regulating emotions, thoughts and identities, your entire world grows calmer, your intentions increase and your business becomes more predictable, profitable and fulfilling.

To learn more about how to stop this procrastination nightmare, join me in a class where I share strategies like these and walk you through exactly how to stop the stall forever.


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